It’s snowing. A pileated woodpecker drums twice in Margaret’s yard: a resonant timpanum. Then sleet: rapid brushes on a taut skin.
A squirrel chased off the bird feeder races all the way to the dead elm in my yard, where it sits perfectly still for the next ten minutes.
Cold, clear, and still. Three dark silhouettes of deer half-running, half-dancing through the laurel with the sun-flooded powerline beyond.
After three months of being written about daily, the world glimpsed from my porch seems more recondite than ever. Slow diatoms of snow.
Siren, train whistle, a red-bellied woodpecker ululating in the yard. It’s snowing. Squirrel tracks cross the porch in front of my chair.
Late to rise, I get a faceful of sun. Sparkles on the frosted snowpack only inhabit the glare between the shadows, like stars on strike.
A jeering band of bluejays lands in the locusts. Of human noise, nothing but distant jets. Long fingers of sunlight between the trees.
Cloud-bellies at sunrise: white, yellow, blue-gray, mauve. We’re back to cold weather, and only the house finch sounds happy to be alive.
Just out of sight through the dripping woods, something dangerous must be passing: a succession of deer blast its odor from their nostrils.
Gray sky at sunrise. The porcupine is late; I watch it coming from a long way off. It pauses to chew on the porch—no taste like home!
It’s back down to 10°F this morning. So engrained, to think of cold as down and heat as up—the opposite of the true situation here on earth.
Screech owls at dawn—a wavering duet. Winged shadows meet for a second in mid-air, then perch in adjacent treetops, ruffling their feathers.
Sun behind the trees. A chickadee singing its “charee-charup” song—or so it sounds to me, whole layers of meaning hidden from primate ears.
Sleet falling into dry snow: a quiet metallic rattle, like robots whispering. My father bursts out onto his porch, hooting at the squirrels.