The usual bird calls—cardinal, titmouse, red-bellied woodpecker—but something seems off. It’s the clouds, coming from the wrong direction.
So many chipmunks are racing about at the woods’ edge that after watching them for a while, I begin to feel itchy. A crow clears its throat.
Warm and still. Out of the corner of my eye, a pileated woodpecker slipping behind a tree. Distant howl of a train car’s misaligned wheels.
Weak sunlight. Dead leaves are all a-rustle, rummaged through by squirrels, voles, chipmunks, juncos. The distant cry of a maybe killdeer.
Cloudless and still. Sun gleams on the laurel under the trees. I hear the crunch of footsteps on the gravel road from a hundred yards away.
Another too-warm morning: late April without the warblers. Three dried oak leaves launched into flight by the wind circle like doomed hawks.
Unseasonably warm. The sun catches on glass disinterred by frost heaving. From the valley, the cheerful pops of a semi-automatic rifle.