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.
One degree above freezing and the hillside echoes with traffic noise. Meltwater drips from the roof, polyrhythms going in and out of sync.
Cold and overcast. The wind eddies around the house, bringing first a few snowflakes, then the distant mechanical gargle of an engine brake.
The traffic noise is deafening; even the crows are hard to hear. The air starts to shimmer with what Chinese call maomaoyu—fine-hair rain.
Cool and almost clear. A few clouds come scudding from the same direction as the highway noise, as if themselves powered by small engines.
Warm sun and an inversion layer bringing traffic noise from over the ridge. Cardinals and titmice compete with the whine of truck tires.
Under low, gray clouds, the sound of traffic from the valley. A titmouse at the woods’ edge keeps whistling his one, querulous note.
Traffic sounds have returned to the valley: tires whistle, trucks groan. Off in the woods, some large animal crunches through the ice.
The hollow echoes with the roar of traffic. Odd how the sun can rise through the trees in total silence, turning a heavy frost into mist.
Cloudy and cold. The soft back-and-forth of sparrows flitting between woods and meadow. The distant keening of an ambulance.
Another cool morning. From over the ridge, an inversion layer relays the whine of tires on asphalt and the keening work-songs of trucks.
Sunny and cool. A small brown moth flies past, fluttering hard against the wind. From the interstate to the west, the whine of a speed bike.