A hollow oak dead for 30 years has finally collapsed, its fragments piled next to the stump like abandoned clothes. The first few raindrops.
The black currants are in full leaf, squat from their winter’s pruning by the deer. Down-hollow, a hen turkey yelping, a tom gobbling back.
The woods’ edge is a collage of pastels: just-opened leaves, catkins, maple keys. The old cherry stump chirps like a phone: baby bluebirds.
The groundhog that woke me with its bumping under the floor grazes serenely on wild onions. The first hummingbird zooms past the porch.
Buds have burst on the witch hazel, leaf-pairs clasped together as if in prayer. Dimly visible in the fog: a crowd of mayapple umbrellas.
A masked bird skulks through the lilac: the first common yellowthroat. Clouds gather, and the shadbush blossoms disappear into the sky.
A gnatcatcher is feeding above the stream, wings back-lit by the mid-morning sun as it twists and dives and pivots like a kung fu master.
Sky bluer than a bruise. A small salticid spider suns itself on my sweater. The first carpenter bee makes a slow inspection of the porch.
Overcast and breezy. The daffodils are beginning to droop like old balloons. A black-throated green warbler sings once and moves on.
Bright sun, cold shadows. Down in the hollow, two downy woodpeckers are engaged in a head-banging competition. The neighbor’s rooster crows.
A ruffed grouse drums and a field sparrow sings with almost the same accelerating rhythm. The hollow gurgle of the stream under the yard.
It’s just above freezing, bright sun alternating with clouds. The usual bird calls seem to have an almost interrogatory tone.
Scattered snowflakes. On the back slope, a gray tabby cat is stalking voles, head swiveling to follow each ripple of wind in the grass.
Birdsong amid the rain. My brother’s ailing dog joins me on the porch, lying down with a sigh on the squirrel’s wet footprints.
A red-tailed hawk struggles to stay aloft against the wind. A spit of rain. Then the clouds disappear as quickly as yesterday’s hail stones.
A dull-gray morning full of the rattling of woodpeckers. A bluebird lands on a branch in the yard like an emissary from the weekend.