An inch of wet snow clinging to everything: that clean smell in the half-dark of dawn. When my furnace cycles off, a great silence descends.
Overcast, so it’s hard to tell exactly when moonlight gives way to dawn. A hunter’s flashlight climbs the ridge and is lost among the trees.
An hour before sunrise, a great-horned owl calls in the distance—just audible over the sounds of traffic. My breath rises like a rope trick.
Dawn comes with a light breeze rummaging through the oaks, a freight train laboring up the valley, the tutting of robins.
Dawn silence. A distant Carolina wren. I’m standing outside in my PJs enjoying the relative warmth (38F) when I spot the first cloud in days.
25F degrees at dawn. A bat flies low over the meadow as the white-throated sparrows tune up. Frost-encrusted blades of grass seem to glow.
First frost, and the thinnest small boat of a moon riding low on the horizon with the bright darkness of its cargo.
They’re shapeshifting daily now, the faces in the thinning treetops silhouetted against the dawn sky. I push my glasses down to unblur the moon.
Mercury rises just as the stars begin to fade. A jet flies under it. A lone goose flies over it. I look away and lose it in the dawn sky.
A dark and rainy dawn. One especially well-harmonized train horn and the sparrows and wrens wake up.
The last star blinks out just as rain begins to tap on the roof. A spring pepper calls. Dawn begins to seem like a possibility.
Overcast at dawn. The silence is broken by the periodic splats of black walnuts. A barred owl’s single, round note.
Mares’ tails reddening in the east. The reedy songs of white-throated sparrows. A raven’s nasal croak.
Cold and clear. Stars fade as the ground fog grows, partly lit by the crescent moon, partly by the dawn.