Dawn comes with a light breeze rummaging through the oaks, a freight train laboring up the valley, the tutting of robins.
A dark and rainy dawn. One especially well-harmonized train horn and the sparrows and wrens wake up.
Fine snow. Cleaning the dust off my glasses, everything blurs together: white sky, white ground, the noise of trains and sparrows.
Cloudy and cold. A cardinal perched in the lilac sings softly, barely opening his beak. The sound of a freight train laboring up the valley.
Under a low cloud ceiling, the thunder of trains and traffic from the valley. The black cat’s deadly silence trips a gray-squirrel alarm.
Deep blue sky. The distant rumble of a freight train heading west. The one remaining snowbank in the yard looks permanent as marble.
The sound of two trains approaching a crossing at the same time—their unplanned duet. I study the tracks in the yard, looking for groundhog.
A high-pitched train horn. The yammering of a red-bellied woodpecker. Almost imperceptibly, rain begins to tap on the snowpack’s icy lid.
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.