Half a degree above freezing, but it’s enough to melt last night’s snow everywhere the weak sunlight reaches. Quiet but for the trains.
Now that I can see the quaking aspens, through bare walnut branches, I can hear them too: their constant whisper. Gauzy rain. A train horn.
Fog settles in, full of the labor of freight trains. Snow mounded up by the plow rots in the otherwise bare yard like a white whale carcass.
Had I not risen early I would’ve missed the sun, the rooster, two doves’ calls blending into something like the distant locomotive’s chord.
Winter’s back. You can see it in the dash of snow and thick crust of clouds, hear it in the train’s horn and the querulous cries of crows.
Sun through cloud—enough to make the leaf duff shine in the woods. A chipmunk rustles. The distant squeal of a misaligned wheel on a train.
The train’s horn is full of Monday. Migrating towhees compare notes at the edge of the woods. A blue wound closing in the clouds.
A squadron of tulip poplar keys spinning down into the stiltgrass. From over the ridge, a locomotive’s hoarse chord.
When the rain finally slackens off, I can hear a vireo, goldfinches, the catbird, a train horn, and the throaty roar of a well-fed creek.
Warm and still. Out of the corner of my eye, a pileated woodpecker slipping behind a tree. Distant howl of a train car’s misaligned wheels.