A selection of Morning Porch tweets from 2007-2010, arranged into a single year.
Dripping fog, the snow reduced to patches. Mating season has come for the great-horned owls calling in the distance, one high, one low.
Fog. A distant chainsaw in one direction and in the other, rodent teeth. Amorous squirrels race back and forth over the white ground.
Twelve hours of downpour and the stream’s a torrent, water clear from running off frozen ground. Small clouds rise like spirits from the snow.
Ground-level clouds appear and disappear in the half-dark; even the thermometer is fogged up. Over the roar of the stream, a robin’s song.
Fog drifts through the woods where rain has reduced the snow to archipelagos. Overhead the clouds, too, are breaking up. Low-flying geese.
Thick fog prolongs the early-morning light for hours. The cardinal sings spring while a screech owl quavers over the luminous snow.
Rain and fog. A robin drops into the barberry bush, tut-tutting. Up in the woods, two deer stand with their heads buried in the soft snow.
Bluebird, white-throated sparrow, a starling’s liquid note, and high overhead, a kildeer: the sky must be blue above the fog.
Hours of hard rain have brought out the green in tree trunks and branches, in laurel leaves, in moss. Even the fog has a slight green cast.
Thick fog blanks everything but the noise from the highway—this could be New Jersey. Rain beads on the branches of the ornamental cherry.
When the sun finally breaches the fog, the forest drips with jewels. In the yard, the first native wildflower opens its pin-sized blooms.
Somewhere in the fog, a red-winged blackbird, a pair of mourning doves, a robin, a flock of finches. Half an hour later, nothing but rain.
Thick ground fog, one degree below freezing. The trees grow sharper as the sun begins to blur. Please don’t flower yet, I tell the oaks.
Sometime past 7:30, the birds fall silent for half a minute and there’s only fog, a slow drip from leaves no larger than squirrels’ ears.
The gray winter pelts of two grazing deer are just beginning to fray. The fog withdraws into the woods and the webs of grass spiders.
Sun through fog. Animals emerge and vanish like actors in a play, bringing their cries and silences: goldfinches, a raven, a pair of deer.
Fog. The ants who tend the peony buds have been replaced by drops of water—all but one, who moves slow as an astronaut on a strange planet.
Pale bones of the dead elm, standing at the edge of the yard like an emissary from Lent amidst a Mardi Gras of green, reach into fog.
Foggy morning. A short-lived bright period brings a faint sound of traffic from I-99. I hear the hummingbird’s small motor in the garden.
The little wood satyr I first spotted yesterday flutters up from the side garden, yellow-rimmed eyespots like dim headlights in the fog.
Thin fog in the corner of the field. A Cooper’s hawk fledgling responds to its parent, a hot cry, a knife cry, a glossy cry, a soul cry.
I watch a yellow black walnut leaf flutter to the ground. Autumn’s in the air. Fog persists most of the morning, lit up from above.
Thin fog. Now that the phoebes have left, their shy cousins the pewees have come out of the woods, and herald each sunrise in a slow drawl.
Dawn fog lifts and pauses, so it’s clear to a height of ten feet, then white, then the crescent moon. A red-bellied woodpecker’s slow chant.
The fog reveals as much as it hides. Who knew the trees held so many spiderwebs? The birds are mostly quiet now; it’s cricket spring.
Rain and fog. Nuthatches, a wood pewee, the liquid song of a winter wren. Behind me, loud thumps from some large animal under the house.
Out of the darkness and fog before dawn, a sudden yelp. Only when it moves farther off am I able to place it: a raccoon. The newest tenant.
Thin fog at dawn. From the woods’ edge, the familiar two-syllable call of a scarlet tanager sounds suddenly very much like goodbye.
In the pre-dawn, Sunday-morning silence, the distant bellowing of a cow. A half moon glows through the fog—a thin milk.
First one, then a second Carolina wren pops out from under the eaves, perches in the fretwork for a second, and flies off into the fog.
A pileated woodpecker hammers on a dead tree, resonant as it never was in life. I watch ground fog form and dissipate into a clear dawn sky.
Through the darkness and fog, loud thuds from the black walnut trees that encircle the houses, a slow carpet bombing that goes on for weeks.
A pair of ravens fly low over the house, invisible in the fog. I’m lost in thought about trickster gods, and right on cue: Arrk! Arrk! Arrk!
Drizzle turns into downpour and the fog retreats up the ridge. An hour later the rain eases and the fog rolls in again, erasing the trees.
Rain and fog with raven: silent, just above the treetops. White-throated sparrows and a freight train whistling at the same pitch.
Rain and fog. Only the low rumbly sounds break through: a jet, a train. Sitting in the dark, it’s almost possible to believe in isolation.
Thick fog at dawn, gray against the snow. Slate-colored juncos call back and forth: Where are you? A wind comes up.
In the darkness and fog, the sound of slush being punctured and scraped aside. I can just make out the solid shadows, their many thin legs.