Cold and gray. Two doves sit motionless in a tall locust. A pileated woodpecker skulks through the woods, silent save for its wingbeats.
Two A-10 aircraft roar over; I get a glimpse of the nearer one through the trees. A dove flees on whistling wings. A vulture keeps circling.
Behind the sky’s thin skin, the sun is lurid as a bruise. More snow on the way. Six doves take off at once—the piccolo noise of their wings.
Cold again after yesterday’s thaw. A mourning dove flutters down into the lilac, gets settled on a branch and closes its eyes.
A cloudless blue sky. It’s hard to tell the pale elm flowers from the sunlight shining on bare twigs and branches. A dove calls and calls.
Snow fine as dust—I notice it first as a slight shimmy in the trees. A plump mourning dove’s tiny head swivels from side to side.
It’s snowing; the bergamot heads wear new, conical caps. A mourning dove flies past the porch on nearly silent wings, headed for the pines.
Three mourning doves disturbed by a foraging squirrel take flight. Like fast notes blown on a shakuhachi, the whistling of their wings.
A chipping sparrow foraging in the dead grass takes a sudden, balletic leap. A mourning dove coos: hoarse, as if actually in mourning.
Censored by wind and distance, a mourning dove’s call retains only the middle notes, like a bell tolling for the long, slow death of winter.
A mourning dove duet, and that rising note—the first field sparrow of spring! An hour later, snow is blowing sideways.
This morning’s stillness is made of fresh snow, a distant jet, the quiet squeaks of a downy woodpecker and a dove’s whistling wings.
In the cool of the morning, I cup my hands to my ears and listen to wind in the grass, the hum of insects, the distant moans of a dove.
The mourning dove still calls at 9:30. A field sparrow’s accelerating notes: Hurry up! Hurry up! Daylight savoring time—when is that?