Overcast and bitter cold. A Carolina wren comes out from under the house and rummages in the dry leaves behind the oil tanks.
Bright sun, bone-chilling wind. The hillside has lost its white blanket, which makes it feel even colder. The clouds are again worlds apart.
Snow fine as fingerprint powder; it’s almost zero. Two cardinals and a jay in the crabapple tree wait their turn to drink from the spring.
Through my thick hat I can hear wind hissing in the pines, the moan of an amorous squirrel, a tree popping from the cold—loud as a gunshot.
Take one polar vortex. Add westerly winds, seasoned lightly with snow. Stir in some birds and trees. Heat with a star 93 million miles away.
The wind has died; it’s zero. Through my balaclava and hood I can hear the excited chirps of juncos on the plowed road foraging for grit.
Storm past, the temperature is plunging, just as they predicted. The new icicles aren’t even done dripping. They sway in the bitter wind.
The thermometer’s arrow nudges past 32 in the sun, but the wind’s still cold, and the damp soil at the woods’ edge glitters with needle ice.
Cold deep as the sky’s blue, but the creek still sings its thaw song. Each dead grass clump is a Mecca for the fragmentary trails of birds.
An icy wind; the ground has regained its white quilt. It’s as if the thaw never happened—except for the odd leaf skittering across the snow.