White shapes appear and disappear in the pre-dawn darkness: nervous deer raising and lowering their tails.
The fluting of geese from somewhere above the clouds. A bowhunter dressed in green camouflage walks out of the autumn woods.
Mist thickens into drizzle; the phoebe falls silent. Under the deer-ravaged black currant bushes, slick black rocks where the stream begins.
Several bright spots in the clouds where the sun might be hiding like a pea in a shell game. Dozens of crows fly overhead, most in silence.
The all-night rain has stripped the leaves off the witch hazel, revealing the flowers, some clutching raindrops in their pale skinny petals.
A muffled explosion from the east: more dynamiting of the valley’s limestone. The sparrows in the lilac act like nothing happened.
The air is hazy but cool. Asian ladybugs fly back and forth, orange elytra aglow. A jay forages in the leaf duff, bluer than the sky.
Clear and cold. The leaves at the end of the porch have gathered into a dense crowd, as if for warmth. A raven’s distant croak.
The silhouettes of small birds (goldfinches?) darting through the crown of a black birch as wind and driving rain strip it of leaves.
Warm and humid. A crow lands on the top branch of a nearly bare black walnut tree. It caws three times and flies off with heavy wingbeats.
Walnut leaves are scattered all over the porch. What was the wind up to while I slept? In the woods, a migrant thrush expresses mild alarm.
A squirrel hurls itself from maple to locust, falling, grabbing hold. It runs to the end of a limb and stops, staring across at the walnut.
Every morning more shards of ridge-top sky are visible through the trees. In the black birch’s yellow crown, yellow-rumped warblers.
Sunny, warm, and quiet except for the distant wail of a locomotive, a phoebe calling at the woods’ edge, a cricket, the rustling of leaves.
With every gust of wind, a mob of yellow leaves comes swirling out over the meadow. From just inside the woods’ edge, the crash of a limb.
A shield bug on the railing is nearly immobilized by the cold, except for a slow, vaguely apotropaic waving of its antennae when I approach.