Freezing rain. A black birch sapling suddenly bows its head. As the temperature climbs, branches begin to shed their heavy decorations.
Cold, gray, and windy, with a new half-inch of snow. The only flicker of warmth is a chickadee’s call—the pilot light in a stone-cold oven.
Four chickadees glean frozen bugs from one skinny branch of the dead elm. Through newly porous trees, a 30-second glimpse of the rising sun.
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.
It’s snowing: fine, dry flakes. A squirrel falls out of a tree. Two chickadees drop into the bridal wreath bush to settle a score.
Chickadees and nuthatches are exchanging news, each in its own language as always. I’m watching snow, but hearing the hiss of sleet.
Cold and windy. A chickadee’s two-note spring song echoes off the ridge. Behind the trees, floating above the horizon, one yellow cloud.
Yakety-yak on the porch, dee dee dee in the birches, and everywhere a drip drip drip drip drip: gray solstice morning.
Last night, the ground sparkled; now it’s the color of moonlight forgotten by the moon. A chickadee lands on the lawn and has a taste.
Titmice and chickadees inspect the lilac, which lost half its leaves overnight. Déjà vu: they were in my dreams, these birds. These spirits.
White on green: the lilac bush heavy with yesterday’s snow. Chickadees bicker, working out a pecking order that will last until spring.