Then the noise grows sharper. Small hailstones begin to fall. Rising wind sends them pinging and clattering against the windowpanes. Flashes of lightning strobe and reveal the hail bouncing on the ground, and the din of their fall is suddenly made to seem gentle by the following crack of thunder. The furious downpour gives way to furious hailstorm, concussions of thunder falling on the cloud-darkened street, the sharp cracks and throaty booms rolling over the shuddering house, rattling the window sash, echoing across the bare orchard and windblown woods and rapidly whitening fields. Through the cacophony, there is the furious screeching of surprised blue jays.
Soon, all the pavements are uniform with a pristine coat of white, and only a few spiky blades of brown, cold-seared grass poke through the rough, pale blanket that covers the lawn. The storm remains intense for no more than a few minutes, then moves off, the flashes of lightning dimmed, the peals of thunder muted to a distant purr. Its aftermath is this chill but placid scene into which small birds emerge, with fluttering wings and shy chirps, from the bushes in which they have lately taken refuge. They alight on a mulberry branch, making all the bright drops of water which hang from it quiver with the fading light. Until the first car struggles up the icy street, marking the smooth surface with bare asphalt tracks, boardered by dark slush, the world is suspended like those water drops, hanging in the diffused light of a hidden sunset.