Under a low cloud ceiling, the thunder of trains and traffic from the valley. The black cat’s deadly silence trips a gray-squirrel alarm.
First light. Ghostly figures in the meadow shrink into common snakeroot. The distant gargle of a truck jake-breaking off the interstate.
Quiet except for the distant whine of traffic on I-99 and some small bird chirping behind the oil tanks. The sun comes out for five seconds.
A white-breasted nuthatch is barely audible over the whine of tires from the interstate. Two jet contrails form an X just above the sun.
The snow has retreated to the tops of logs. A squirrel’s scold-calls blend with the whine of traffic from over the ridge. A patter of rain.
The snow has gone slushy, turning the hollow from a soundproof room into an echo chamber. Over the traffic noise, a junco’s cadenza.
Between storms, the sound of traffic. Between the white ground and the white sky, fog, and the haute couture of snow coating every tree.
Out before dawn, I watch Venus rising through the trees, bright as a searchlight. The distant gargle of jake brakes from the interstate.
Ash-gray sky and an inversion layer making it sound as if the highway runs straight through the hollow. Above the din, a titmouse keens.
Cold snap over, fine snow falls—accompanied by the roar of traffic, as if all noise this past week had frozen solid and now is thawing out.