Dawn. A phoebe and a cardinal are singing in the rain. At the woods’ edge, the last patch of snow has shrunk to the size of a hubcap.
Dawn. In the dim light, a pitter-patter of freezing rain slowly turns into the dry whisper of sleet, then the hush of snow — and back again.
Slow winter dawn: light leaking through the trees. A Carolina wren’s molto vivace prompts his mate to respond in sforzando.
Off to the northeast, a thin band of clear sky for the dawn to tint. A squirrel drops a walnut from the treetops. The catbird starts to mew.
Foggy at dawn. When I open the door, a Carolina wren zips out of the old hornets’ nest under the porch roof and disappears into the lilac.
Awakened at first light by a whip-poor-will, I find my lost hat and sit outside watching a white cat hunt at the edge of the road.
4:50 a.m.: moonlight and dawn-light are at equilibrium. Then the whip-poor-will starts his insane chant. Other birds wake and chime in.
Clear and cold at dawn. Nothing but the sound of water gurgling in the spring until, at length, the first distant bird call: song sparrow.
Before dawn, a dull light that seems to come more from the snow than the sky. Way off in the forest, something takes a few steps and stops.
Overcast at dawn. The light seems to come not from the sky but from the slowly brightening orange and yellow leaves. Chirps of waking birds.