Dawn. A Carolina wren drops like a ninja from its roost in the old hornets’ nest. The sky between the ridgetop trees turns to blood.
The western ridge shines golden against dark clouds for a few minutes before the sun goes in. A gunshot. The gurgling of the stream.
Two tulip poplar leaves vibrate in a private wind: chickadees. The western ridge turns from blood-red to orange to yellow—autumn in reverse.
Sunrise illuminates the hidden rooms of the elder tree. In one, a blackbird grooms, starting the day with the taste of its own feathers.
Brighter color between the trees: sunrise. Gray as their trunks: a doe and her grown fawns. From down hollow, a screech owl’s trill.
Under dark clouds, the field full of goldenrod glows in the rising sun’s light like some Viking hoard in an archaeologist’s trench.
Ten degrees above freezing at sunrise. A squirrel leaps through the soft snow like a salmon swimming upstream. High overhead, a raven calls.
Cold and very still. The sun climbs through the ridgetop trees as slowly and bristly as a porcupine of light.
Thick hoarfrost gives the sun rising through the trees a soft, glittery nimbus, and the aging snowpack has regained the sparkle of youth.
Windy and cold. The rising sun peeks out from beneath a lid of clouds: in the sudden glow, goldfinches, their squeaky calls.