The day is gray, the trees leafless and drab gray-brown with pines here and there a somber green, and breaks in the cloud cover show a brilliant, vivid blue -- when down near the horizon a robin's egg blue that's paler and touched with green -- and clashing with the muted scene.
The sky is gray except for a band near the west, rather broad, and pure, deep, radiant cherry red. A building hides it as I start the car, and it has vanished before I leave the lot.
Morning. Shadows over the lawn leave the green and drab yellow dark. A raven, large, stalks along, a darker shadow in the shadow.
The air is filled with the twitters and cheeps of the over-wintering birds. They perch on the leafless branches. On one tree, a hawk perches. The other birds perch behind it, and when they flit, it's not from branch to branch but away, and no bird flits to the tree, but still a dozen birds sit around, not mobbing, not fleeing.
The forest scene is golden and red, red from the branches awaiting spring with buds, the gold from the grass turned with autumn.
The forest is dark with all the tree bark damp, but the saplings still holding their leaves stand and are every shade from golden to deep copper. (Not yet the white they are bleached to by spring)
The pond is half ice, often with water over it. By the bridge, the ducks shift from standing on the water-covered ice to swimming, and back, as I pass by.
On the garden earth, a mourning dove sits. For all the ashes-of-roses feathers, the brown and the gray are enough to make it almost invisible as its dark eye watches me. It takes several steps before I notice the second one, also brown and gray and ashes-of-roses -- and when I reach the steps up beside it, they have had enough, and fly off.
Across the road comes a low creature scurrying across. The back is off-white, a dirty cream. One would not even call it a stripe, but there is black fur on its side. It finishes crossing and ducks under a car in a parking lot, on the side where I am walking -- or was walking. I cross the street and walk on the wrong side for -- some time.
A reddish thing in the tree -- I look up and see -- a hawk. And that's its belly. All red, with just tinges of orange and brown. Looking at me from a small head with the sharp beak and dark eyes. Its back is brindle, white and black. I wonder if it's a juvenile.
The sunlight glitters from the pond, making the entire flock of waterfowl back-lit and black, impossible to tell even whether they are geese or ducks as they float or land with great splashings. Only after much walking can I look sideways and see -- by the coloring -- that they are geese, though geese that have pulled back their heads so far that they look ducks in shape. Only a few have actually put their heads under their wings to sleep on the bobbing of ripples, but fewer have extended their necks farther. Also some ducks, one of them splashing itself with a great deal of water and shaking its wings and generally doing its best to compensate for a want of hands while washing.
A mourning dove, out of sight, tolls its coo, so loudly that I can hear it very far as I walk about the block.
A single, brilliant evening star -- first in the deep blue sky next to the crescent, and then again later, when the sky was black and the crescent like a cup.
The tulips are sprouting greenly, and a bird is chirping loudly -- as loudly as a mourning dove, but not the deep coo.
The first crocus buds, in a vivid deep purple, are sprouting, amid the dead leaves.
The moon looms large, round and pale yellow, but when I am ready to walk, the clumping clouds shift over it. At first they form a woven pattern, as I walk between the moon and the brilliant evening star, but they thicken as a skein of goose cries faintly in the distance, and only the moonlight seeping around the edges can be seen. Still, as I walk back home, the moon emerges again, large and pearly white, and a lower skein of geese are honking through the air -- low enough that distance does not take the comic edge off their tone.