Waiting for rain, everything sounds like an augury—catbird, chipmunk, great-crested flycatcher—and just before the first drops, that hush.
Almost warm, and the sky almost clear. Two chipmunks sit two feet apart on top of the wall, staring off in different directions.
Sunny but cold. The woods-edge chipmunk scuttles back and forth. Tips of dead grasses hanging into the stream have new feet of ice.
The glare ice between the trees flickers as a tiny figure races across it: the first chipmunk! Soon in furious pursuit of the second.
The tock-tock-tock of a chipmunk up in the woods, relentless as a metronome. A red-tailed hawk lands in an oak and has a slow look around.
Chipmunks chatter alarm up in the woods, and a moment later the squirrels. I remember the terrified bleating I heard at 1:30 in the morning.
Sky and ground both flat white. A squirrel missing a quarter of her tail is fossicking through the snow, ignored by a high-speed chipmunk.
Overcast. A song sparrow’s song. Chipmunks break their habitual solitude to dash across the hard snowpack, fighting, looking for mates.
Blinking the sleep from my eyes, I watch a chipmunk awoken from hibernation racing from covert to covert through the inch-deep snow.
White sky, bleary sun. Cold air, hot coffee. That equinoctial balance. Crickets trill, chipmunks tick, aspen leaves flip back and forth.