Dawn. In the dim light, a pitter-patter of freezing rain slowly turns into the dry whisper of sleet, then the hush of snow — and back again.
Rain mingled with the ticking of sleet. The early daffodils cluster together, heads nodding, like youths defying a social-distancing order.
Rain seasoned with sleet. The trapped balloons hang limply from their dead tree, wrinkled like over-ripe fruit.
Snow mixed with sleet. The feral balloons have wrapped themselves more tightly around their tree—a classic trade of freedom for security.
Falling snow infiltrated by sleet—that clicking like a room full of typists. A jay has sole custody of the color blue—his two-note solo.
A sudden fusillade of sleet. Just audible over the rattle: a blue jay doing its imitation of a red-tailed hawk.
Steady sleet. A squirrel bores into the frozen earth to retrieve a black walnut, then schleps the battered, lumpy thing into the treetops.
Mid-morning and the yard is seething with birds—chickadees, sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, titmice—foraging and singing despite the sleet.
Thick fog, and the road gray with sleet that fell in the night. Three red-bellied woodpeckers are whinnying back and forth in the treetops.
It’s still. The birds seem restless. Then the snow starts: mixed with sleet at first, then in big clumps, giving the ground a mottled look.