March 2009

Sunny and cold. My mother starts up the trail into the woods with her pant-legs tucked into her socks against the plague of deer ticks.

A new squeal from the locust trees. The wind is an eraser that works badly, and tears a hole in the woods if pressed too hard.

Here in the clouds, one mourning dove has added an extra note to the beginning of his song, turning a dirge into a slow dance tune.

Dark morning. The fox squirrel’s tail flickers orange from the back of the big red maple whose buds have swollen into dime-sized stoplights.

The rain-soaked forest glistens in the sun, bejeweled. The air is full of traffic noise and gnats with shining wings.

First rainy morning in weeks, but how quickly things turn to rust: rasp of a starling, a red-winged blackbird’s call, a scolding squirrel.

A harsh cooing from the pine tree closest to the porch, like a hawk crossed with a dove. Two crows fly in, scold for a minute, and fly off.