August 2011

A large flock of small birds in the trees at the edge of the woods, hovering, diving, fluttering up like brown leaves returning to the tree.

Air so clear the sunlit leaves are as green as June again. Two chipmunks in adjacent territories begin clucking, falling in and out of sync.

The rhythmic thumping of a monstrous digger at the quarry two miles away. My father hollers from his front porch to come look at a mole.

A restless wind turns over leaves and passes through the house, as if searching for something it can’t find so far from the tropics.

A downy woodpecker lands on the dead elm, his black-and-white feathers against the barkless trunk as startling and dramatic as a totem pole.

A violently shaking black walnut branch passes its affliction to an adjacent locust: gray squirrel with an unripe walnut between its teeth.

The rain-drenched soapwort petals are showing a faint wash of pink. Is that any way to age? Evening primrose leaves have turned barn-red.