Over the wind, a faint music, as if from a distant woodwinds section: silhouetted against a cloud, a south-bound V of tundra swans.
Rain and fog. A dead branch gives way under the weight of seven jays, who fly up screaming as it crashes to the ground.
An inversion layer brings freight train and traffic noise to mix with rustling leaves, crow scold-calls, a chipmunk’s metronome. My music.
Warmer and overcast. The silhouettes of small birds feeding gregariously in the top of a black birch—goldfinches, I realize when they fly.
The wind has stripped the treetops of most remaining leaves, flooding them with light. I watch the sine-wave flight of a far-off woodpecker.
Windy and overcast, with a few flakes of snow in the air. Yellow leaves peel off the aspens as I watch. Two ravens croak back and forth.
Through thinning treetops, I spot a red-tailed hawk flapping to gain altitude. Two red oak leaves spiral high over the yard.
Just inside the woods, a white spear-tip where a maple’s top snapped off last June, sad as the spikes on the buck standing in the driveway.
The woods and fields are brown now, but the large lilac is still a wall of yellowed green, like faded posters for a long-gone fair.
Half an hour after sunrise, a shimmering oscillation, as if from a juggler of knives: despite the cold, a dragonfly is circling the yard.
A ragged flock of geese too low for the alembic of distance to mellow their calls. But I hear each wingbeat, see the sun on their feathers.
A katydid clings to the side of the house at sunrise, its veined leaf of a body immobile in the cold but still as green as July.
The forest floor glistens: all those fallen leaves not yet stripped of their polish. I picture them crawling with the newly restive ticks.
Clear and bright, but the wind still blows. The long leaves of the cattails have started to brown, their curled ends bowing toward the west.
Back after a week away, I gaze into a grayer, more open forest. The wind makes forays to rustle in the fallen leaves. A titmouse scolds.
Clear and cold, though still no first frost. In the garden, the lily-of-the-valley berries have dulled over like the hearts of dead moles. * This will be the last report […]