After rain and cold, the snow is reduced to a thin crust on top of the leaf litter. It shatters with every waking footstep of the deer.
Wind like a dozen freight trains thundering in the ridgetop trees. I remember as a kid I would curl up under windy pines and dream of sleep.
Like a familiar word in the middle of a speech in some other language: through the roar of traffic from over the ridge, a screech owl calls.
White ground, gray sky, and the temperature just below freezing. The wind curls around the house like a dog’s tail. A flock of goldfinches.
Commotion among the pileated woodpeckers: cackling, drumming. One swoops past and lands on the side of a tree with a magician’s flourish.
It’s snowing: single flakes at first, then more and more clumps, some asymmetric enough to spin or spiral—tiny leaves from a vast tree.
Two pairs of doves fly into the top of a tall locust and sit still as stones in the frigid wind, facing the pale moon, the crimson ridge.
A crow caws, and I’m struck by how much it resembles a barking dog. More crows, and the impression persists: Arf arf arf! A murder of dogs.
At first light, few other sounds than the fluting of doves’ wings. I hold my head perfectly still to watch Venus moving through the trees.
Sun thinned by a fleet of clouds the color of dirty dishwater. The wind in the pines is virtually indistinguishable from distant traffic.