Wind throbs in the treetops; the birdcall app thinks it’s a drumming grouse. Juncos twitter from the lilac, which has just burst its buds—a green apparition against the brown woods.

Through two hats and a hood, the wind’s bitter whisper reaches my ear. Odd moans and creaking sounds issue from the trees, whose dark silhouettes stretch between two absences. Then first light and the cooing of doves.

After another cold, windy night, might the ground finally be frozen? A tree wails in the darkness. From the ridgetop, long sighs.

Well below freezing, with a half-inch of snow on the ground and a wind that keeps turning the pages of my book. The sun appears for a second or two through a gray eyelid of cloud.