Walking outside tonight, I heard an owl loudly hooting along the mountainside. I watched chimney smoke ascend across the black sky. Cold rain turned to snow, arcing down into the dark forest.
I grabbed some firewood and headed back inside.
During a cloudy night the forest is deeply black, but any glimmer of light picks out the birches, tall like bars of a cage or a skeleton's long bones. As I walked among the birches, the owl cried again, then once more, each time further down the mountainside.
An oblong of white shot out behind me, as the house's front door opened to release the dog. The dog raced away from me, upslope, snarling in the direction from which bears usually come. I walked over to join her, and we stared together into the top of the forest, peering between dark trees.