Cold and still, with an almost-mackerel sky that Vs of tundra swans keep crossing—their clarinet notes, their breast feathers golden with sunrise.
Fast-moving, yellow-bellied clouds stream up from the southeast, clearing to reveal a long bow of tundra swans arrowing north.
The far-off fluting of tundra swans. I scan the sky for them—no luck. I resume reading about horrors on my phone.
Tundra swans just below the clouds heading east over the house, their ethereal flutes. Three minutes later, a south-bound flock of geese.
Clear and cold. The scattered, jubilant cries of six swans—too few to form a chevron—passing high overhead, bellies pink with sunrise.
Just below freezing. The infrequent sun is in the same spot among the trees as the moon last night, when I sat outside listening to swans.
A red-tailed hawk dives at a squirrel just as I come out. Then woodwinds: a V of geese followed by tundra swans. The first killdeer’s cry.
In the deep blue, the only spots of white, high overhead, are swans: two large Vs tacking this way and that, trailing their piccolo notes.
Five Canada geese who’ve never seen Canada fly low overhead—half a V. Five minutes later, a proper V of tundra swans, high, whistling north.
Over the rumble of my furnace, the cries of tundra swans: a long, trembling thread of them high in the blue, wings sparkling like snow.
In the warm sun at the woods’ edge, a groundhog gathers a mouthful of dried leaves and dives into her burrow. Far-off cries of tundra swans.
Overcast and cold with snow in the air and scattered notes from a traveling ensemble of flautists: a large V of tundra swans arrowing south.
From high overhead, the faint cries of swans. I scan the clear sky in vain. A blue jay drinks from a seep in the yard beside the dogwoods.
Over the wind, a faint music, as if from a distant woodwinds section: silhouetted against a cloud, a south-bound V of tundra swans.