Yesterday the garter snakes came out, the wood frogs clucked in the marsh, and the first coltsfoot bloomed among the stones at the side of the road. Today, a little past noon, I watched the feral cat pounce on a snake made torpid by the cold. A couple of bites and it stopped wriggling. The cat saw me and ran with her prize dangling up under the lilac, where she crouched and crunched. When I came back out twenty minutes later, she had eaten everything but the head — four yellow eyes were staring at me, and then just two. I pictured all those vertebrae passing through her gut.
Just now, new software installing itself on my desktop computer, flock after flock of tundra swans passing over the house, singing their way north as I catch a whiff of corpse from under the floor, I think suddenly of the thread that ties this all together: how fragile it is, and how you need to stretch it almost to the breaking point before it will produce a single note.