From under the house, rabbit tracks encircling a half-eaten raspberry cane, raccoon tracks going straight to the stream—muddy on the return.
On the snow-covered log beside the stream, the baby’s-handprint tracks of raccoons. A wren above the water burbling in counterpoint.
A line of tracks from under the porch to the creek and back look like the prints a very small man walking on his hands would make: raccoon.
Querulous cries of a raccoon, like lost notes from a soprano clarinet. Two pileateds hammer for their breakfast—an arrhythmic percussion.
First light. The silence is broken by a rustle in the leaves, followed a little later by the hollow sound of a creek stone being flipped.