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 […]
A field sparrow forages in the seed heads of goldenrod inches from the porch, eye a black stone set in a white ring, keeping me in sight.
Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.
Flocks of geese fly low overhead, one after another, their cries echoing off the ridges. A red-bellied woodpecker scolds from a locust tree.
Wind tosses the leaves that last night were glistening in the moonlight. A blue jay does its red-tailed hawk imitation, but nobody’s fooled.
Cloudy and cold. A caterpillar climbs my leg, its brown form so extravagantly furred it resembles a miniature, misplaced fashion accessory.
When a squirrel sounds the hawk alarm, a sparrow on a branch freezes so well that soon even I am convinced it’s part of the tree.
Overcast at dawn. The light seems to come not from the sky but from the slowly brightening orange and yellow leaves. Chirps of waking birds.
At 8:30 in the morning it’s still warm, but I hear the cold front coming: the hissing grass, the shuffling leaves, the hoarse cries of jays.
Overcast and still. The hollow thumps of a pileated woodpecker foraging for breakfast. Walnuts fall on the back roof with an alarming crash.