Where the stream fans out beside the springhouse, birds hop down the snowbanks and into the water to bathe: sparrows, juncos, Carolina wren.
A swarm of maple helicopters. I sneeze and a wren begins to sing. A kinglet rotates in time to the music. We’re in this dance together.
The laboring motor in the septic service truck, pumping out our tanks—I try to hear anything else. The Carolina wren. An electric drill.
Foggy at dawn. When I open the door, a Carolina wren zips out of the old hornets’ nest under the porch roof and disappears into the lilac.
Cold and gloomy, but the yard seethes with birds: juncos, cardinals, wren. A hundred yards away, a hawk sits on a limb, bedeviled by crows.
Titmouse, chickadee, wren. I squint into the sun. The bitter wind rattles the cover of the magazine beside me—which, I notice, is Rattle.
Two degrees above freezing and I feel over-dressed. Icicles drop from the eaves. A Carolina wren sings his “tea kettle” song in a minor key.
Cat tracks in the snow disappear under the house. The Carolina wrens have survived another cold snap; will they be killed in their sleep?
Another brutally cold morning. From somewhere under the house where the heating ducts run, the trilling of a Carolina wren.
Christmas has come like a vengeful spirit, roaring on the ridgetop, plastering the weather sides of trees with snow. A Carolina wren’s song.