A rare sunshiny morning. A blaze-orange cap emerges from the woods: the resident naturalist, bearing a bag full of maitake mushrooms.
A squirrel on an oak limb freezes in alarm at the figure passing underneath, that blaze-orange cap a color no longer found in the trees.
The snowstorm slows down just after daybreak, as if drawing its breath. I hear my mother on her back porch yelling at the squirrels.
The excited yelling of my young niece, out tracking animals in the snow with her grandmother. A Carolina wren scolds from the lilac bush.
The resident naturalist emerges from the woods, white slacks and dark blue coat a perfect camouflage against the new snow and blue shadows.
A flat-gray sky. Train whistles and quarry noise travel up the hollow, accompanying two overlapped umbrellas, one black, one white.
My mother emerges from the weeds beside the springhouse with a handful of mint. Behind her at the woods’ edge, a red-tailed hawk takes wing.
Overcast. A train whistle coming from the wrong direction. The resident naturalist stops at the corner of the wall, gets out her hand lens.
Sky and ground are the same flat white. I hear my mother at her bird feeder yelling Go! Go! Go! Go! as a squirrel bounds over the icy crust.
Backlit by the morning sun: new leaves, the wings of a vulture, my mother’s t-shirts flapping like irreverent prayer flags on the line.
Sunny and cold. My mother starts up the trail into the woods with her pant-legs tucked into her socks against the plague of deer ticks.
I can hear my mother yelling at the squirrels: Go! Go! Go! It occurs to me that snow is the opposite of water, slippery when dry.
Fingers of sunlight stretch across the yard. The resident naturalist climbs the trail into the woods with the aid of a long thin stick.
Rising late, I get a faceful of sun. I watch the resident naturalist’s blaze-orange vest and cap appearing and disappearing among the trees.