Five nuthatches land in the walnut tree and begin scuttling up and down its trunk in the pouring rain, poking and probing the furrowed bark.
A scattering of white in my overgrown garden: soapwort, bindweed, fleabane, snakeroot. The sky brightens. A towhee calls from the lilac.
I marvel at how tall my tulip trees have grown, nonchalantly waving their leaves. “It was I who planted you! I who saved you from the deer!”
A phoebe flies back and forth between the sunlit treetops, criss-crossing the moon. I can hear the clicks of its bill as it catches insects.
While I’ve been gone, two invading armies have battled for control of the yard. The stiltgrass seems to be winning against the periwinkle.
The porch floor is blotched with pollen. Through the bright-green new leaves, the last few dots of sky are still visible above the ridge. * I’m off to the U.K., […]
Leaves blow backward, signalling storms to come. Fallen crabapple petals litter the ground between the cattails like bloody thumbprints.
The barberry bush above the stream is in bloom, demure rows of yellow bells that smell like sperm. A grackle flies up—his raspy call.
Cool and humid. Two male indigo buntings meet in the lilac bush and click at each other like angry blue Geiger counters.
The old crabapple tree next to the springhouse has pulled it off again, blossoming wildly. The catbird scat-sings from its purple depths.
The catbird is already in full throat at sunrise. Six deer graze in the meadow below the blossoming pear tree, muzzles dripping.
An indigo bunting forages in the leaf duff, blue as an antique medicine bottle, while a scarlet tanager calls from the tree above.
Just after sunrise, a wood thrush lands in the trees across from the porch and looks quietly all around. Two hours later, he’s singing.
From just above the ridge, the tremolo call of a loon. I rush to the edge of the porch and scan the lake-blue fissures between the clouds.
Two catbirds tangle in the air above the stream. A hummingbird dive-bombs a gnatcatcher. The first great-crested flycatcher holds forth.
Strange cries coming from the powerline—mammalian, possibly ursine. I’m mesmerized by the sun on the creek. The first hummingbird zips past.