An ashen sky, gravid with snow. The field sparrow’s back: that song that sounds like rising excitement (or alarm, depending on one’s mood).
Dismal and cold, like a November day—except for the daffodils, the field sparrow’s rising trill, the red maple blossoms about to burst.
Sunny but cold. One of the tall locust trees in the yard has developed a loud creak. Two field sparrows are calling, but not to each other.
Warm and clear. As the morning wears on, the traffic noise from over the ridge diminishes, leaving only the field sparrow’s ascending song.
Last night’s heavy frost retreats to the shade. By 10:30, sparrows are bathing in the stream, shaking themselves dry in the sunlit dogwood.
A ruffed grouse drums and a field sparrow sings with almost the same accelerating rhythm. The hollow gurgle of the stream under the yard.
The rapid-fire drumming of a downy woodpecker on a hollow limb. A field sparrow’s ascending call. My partner snaps a photo of her feet.
A field sparrow forages in the seed heads of goldenrod inches from the porch, eye a black stone set in a white ring, keeping me in sight.
Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.
I feel it before I see it: in the half-light, the intense green of new leaves. The sound of field sparrows, towhees, spring peepers, rain.
Sunny but still cold at 9:00. A fly walks slowly up a porch column. Water gurgles in the ditch. Three kinds of sparrows trade songs.
A wild turkey gobbling on the far ridge. Two field sparrows trade calls, notes rising as they accelerate like engines being revved up.
A mourning dove duet, and that rising note—the first field sparrow of spring! An hour later, snow is blowing sideways.
Six times in a row, the wood pewee chimes in right after the field sparrow. Don’t tell me birds don’t sing in part for the pleasure of it.