Five degrees below freezing. The lilac leaves are already big enough to show their backs to the wind. Four white narcissuses bob and sway.
Five degrees below freezing and heavily overcast. A thin, lispy note—some finch, I guess, high in the black locusts. The dry hiss of sleet.
Still bitter cold, but the wind has died. Clouds redden. A phoebe snags breakfast from the bark of a tree like a nuthatch.
Bitter cold at sunrise. The usual singers are subdued, except for one dove. The occasional bang of heartwood split by ice.
10F/-12C but the wind has mostly died. The plastic flamingo leans only slightly askew in the snowy garden. Patches of blue converge overhead.
Sunrise. Trees popping in the cold (11F/-11C). A chickadee adds a rare, third note to his spring song.
I love these frigid mornings with their gift of silence. The stream gurgling out from under my yard. Nuthatches. Wren. A distant screech owl.
As the sun rises, it descends from icy treetops to hoarfrosted lower branches. It’s quiet. The dial thermometer’s pointer jumps from 8 to 10.
Bitter cold. A garlic mustard skeleton hanging over the small hole in the yard that goes down to an underground stream is shaggy with frost.
Very cold and still. Just when I think the birds will never wake, the clouds redden a little and a nuthatch fires up its querulous engine.
Zero degrees. Sun through bare branches—a shining fur of hoarfrost. Two ravens fly in low and circle my mother’s house.
The coldest morning of the year so far. Every few minutes, a tree with ice in its heartwood cracks like a gunshot. The ridge turns pink.
Clear and cold: -16C/3F. Two white-breasted nuthatches exchange notes. The smoke from my chimney slinks along the ground toward the south.
My first morning back since the New Year: clear, still, and bitter cold. The stream’s gurgle. The enthusiasm of small birds for the sunrise.