Distant fire sirens break the silence. A deer hunter drives past in a bright red pickup. I convince myself I’m warm, sitting in the sun.
A bright blue morning. The wail of sirens somewhere to the east—until the wind shifts and I hear nothing but the whispering of oaks.
A heavy sky, gravid with rain. In the town a mile and a half way, a fire siren—that hortatory wail. Then the ululations of the trucks.
From the valley, a wailing duet of fire sirens. Woodpeckers tap and listen, tap and listen, as the soft, light snow goes on falling.
Sun glints on ice-slicked branches and the glossy crust of the hardened snowpack. The distant, mechanical howl of a fire siren.
A distant siren. From a hole near the top of a tall black locust, a squirrel whines at precisely the same pitch.
A maze of squirrel and sparrow tracks between ice-covered tufts of grass glittering in the sun. Down in the valley, a siren starts up.
Fire sirens. A wren’s burble. In a tree at the woods’ edge, two crows jeering a raven fall silent when it flies right over their heads.
Over the sound of the wind, the opening note of a fire siren. Thin, cold rain flies sideways, mixed with snowflakes. The sun struggles out.
A walnut sits on the railing in its soggy, rotten husk like an obscene offering. Two distant fire sirens: when one peaks, the other troughs.