Truly an autumn snow: eight inches with a topping of fallen oak leaves. In the green and brown lilac, a house finch’s purple breast.
The roadside scraped bare by the plow draws all the juncos, foraging and chittering. A house finch lands on a spandrel and glares at me.
Just below freezing; the snow lays here and melts there. A flock of finches in the treetops—punctuation marks in search of a sentence.
Two degrees below freezing. Juncos bathe in the creek, darting into the currant bushes to groom. A house finch’s labyrinthine cadenza.
That first snow still cloaks the frozen earth. When the wind dies, I can hear the 75 finches at my parents’ birdfeeder, a twittering bedlam.
The house finch tries to fit everything into a five-second burst of song, purple among the purple twigs of silky dogwood.