Crystal clear and quiet, except for the methodical hammer-blows of a pileated woodpecker performing surgery on a tree afflicted with ants.
A thin spot in the clouds passing over the sun gives the tulip tree at the woods’ edge an aureole for its suddenly dramatic, upraised limbs.
Bright and still; the meadow glitters with frost. Behind the house, a deer sniffs then licks a fallen pear and turns away.
Overcast and cold with snow in the air and scattered notes from a traveling ensemble of flautists: a large V of tundra swans arrowing south.
Just as I come out, a doe and her grown fawn emerge from the lilac. We stand and stare at each other. I notice one of her ears has a crimp.
Branches clack like arrhythmic castanets in the high wind. A few sunlit snowflakes hurtle past, refugees from who knows what distant cloud.
Dark and rainy. A loud tapping from the far side of the cherry snag next to the porch where a downy woodpecker must’ve spent the night.
Cold and gray. Two doves sit motionless in a tall locust. A pileated woodpecker skulks through the woods, silent save for its wingbeats.
Bright and breezy. A small black wasp lands on the porch floor, its antennae held together except at the tips, like a forked tongue.
To the east, an agitated crow. Over by the cattails, an anxious wren. And behind me under the house, a groundhog bumps and scrapes.
In the Sunday morning silence, I can hear the wind reshuffling fallen leaves half-way up the ridge and the long sighs of the pines.
Between bitter gusts of wind, I hear the calls of juncos and nuthatches, chickadees and titmice, a song sparrow singing in the ditch.
After a night of high winds, the lilac is more threadbare than ever, and in the crowns of the oaks, only the odd clot of a drey remains.
More rain. From the treetops, the thin whistles of cedar waxwings. A squirrel digs up a walnut in the yard and buries it a foot away.
A squirrel enters the cavity in the dead elm and rests its chin on the lip of the hole, watching silently as juncos swirl through the yard.
A stag prances through the gray goldenrod and into the dim, dripping woods with his six bright spears held high—a parade of one.