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.
Melted frost shining like dew on the lilac. A deer trots down the road and into the yard to graze, raising her head to keep an eye on me.
Cold and clear. The mostly bare branches shine silver in the sun. A junco flies twittering through the porch.
Overcast. Two ravens glide along the ridge, circle back and land in the treetops. A hunter in gray forest camouflage emerges from the woods.
Next to the mostly brown woods, the great yellow blob of the lilac seems almost scandalous. It trembles as small birds pass through it.
Warm morning after a cold night, and the oaks are shedding leaves: a dry sound as they hit lower branches, like the ticking of many clocks.
Leaves still cling to the tall locusts—threadbare coats of gold beneath the fourth-quarter moon, pale as a discarded toenail clipping.
The sun blazes through the orange crown of an oak. High up in the cloudless sky, a sleek F-16 trailed by its slow, over-sized roar.
A light smear of sun in the Monday gray. Birds stir in the tall cedar beside the house: the chip chip of a junco; a tree sparrow’s tseet.
Unsettled weather with rare glimpses of sun, but the leaves go on falling: some spiraling, some pirouetting, some in a graceful glide.
Weak sun. A large V of Canada geese comes low over the trees, arrowing due north—non-migratory locals, their cries full of wild longing.
A titmouse scolds something hidden among blood-red barberries. The dead stiltgrass twitches with a second life like hair on a corpse.
Despite all the rain that fell yesterday, the ditches are silent: the forest soaked it all up and now steams and glistens in the sunlight.
Gray rain ripples the air—November’s fur blurring the last splashes of bright October: salmon-colored cherry leaves, a vivid limb of maple.
With the leaves half down, I can see inside the forest again: squirrels leaping from branch to branch, a ridgetop flock, the rising sun.