The landscape conforms to the snowbird’s body plan: gray above, white below. Feathery puffs wherever a bird lands on a snowy branch.
Dawn unveils a new snowfall light as down, all horizontal limbs redrawn in white like colonies of the horizon. I sit clipping my nails.
Flakes in the air and the barest fur on the ground, like a leaf’s glaucous bloom. A low-key chattering match of nuthatches 100 yards apart.
The return of the cold has saved the last, handkerchief-sized patches of snow. In the east, a silent jet trails the smallest of wakes.
A flurry reveals the secret weavings of the wind, spreads a shroud over the porch, and litters my propped-up legs with cryptic asterisks.
Emily Dickinson’s 180th birthday. The sky’s flat whiteness matches the ground: the blank of a page, of self-erasure, of astonishment.
The hissing of the wind blends with the sighing of my furnace. I wonder how far away this latest drift was born. Is it Pittsbugh’s snow?
That first snow still cloaks the frozen earth. When the wind dies, I can hear the 75 finches at my parents’ birdfeeder, a twittering bedlam.
A blaze-orange hunting coat floats through the snowy woods, out-of-place as a sign in the desert: burning bush, billboard, neon whorehouse.
It’s one of those perfect winter mornings from my childhood: bright sun on deep snow and even the shadows sparkling as I shake my head.
The ground is white again, a half-inch-thick pelt that must’ve formed in the small hours. The water’s monologue continues at a lower key.
I can’t bring myself to sweep the new snow off the porch—such lovely stuff! But less than a minute later, I lapse into wool-gathering.
Branches plastered with white still provoke that old schoolboy excitement: a snow day! The wet tips of the icicles tremble in the dawn wind.