Snowflakes backlit by the sun. Unlike rain they don’t just fall; they fly. A strip of bark is draped over a birch twig like a spare tie.

After last night’s storm, all the birches and maples at the woods’ edge have lost their bright leaves, the oaks beyond still a sombre green.

The tulip poplar sapling in the yard glows in the sunlight, a golden column. A honeybee buzzes around the empty light socket above my head.

The barberry beside the stream is turning from the inside out: under a green cloak, salmon pink, blood-red beads, the hurdy-gurdy of a wren.

White-throated sparrows move through the dead meadow, roaming musicians with one tune between them, the air above suddenly full of leaves.

So that mackerel sky at midnight meant rain by dawn. But already the clouds are breaking up and slicks of sun are pooling between the trees.

Scattered crow caws coalesce into a flash mob filled with rage, but dissipate in less than a minute. High up in the clouds, a raven croaks.