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.
Every morning, the carpet of sunlight on the forest floor grows a little larger. The steady rasp of squirrel teeth on black walnut shells.
The wind has made the leaves at the end of the porch draw into a circle. A red-tailed hawk soars over the house, flapping to stay aloft.
With the walnuts bare, I can see the aspens again—now a flickering orange, like that tree in the Mabinogion burning without being consumed.
The thought-cancelling roar of military jets just over the ridge. Overhead, only a commercial jet like a mote in a clear blue eye.
Breezy and warm. A tulip-tree samara helicopters past the porch. In one of the bare birches, a single katydid plays his worn rasp.
The yelling of a crow unable to raise a mob. Sun glints on caterpillar silk strung like abandoned bunting among bare walnut-tree branches.
Warm, with a bleary sun. Three deer file out of the woods: a doe with grown fawns. She pauses to browse the leaves on a feral privet bush.
Last night’s heavy frost retreats to the shade. By 10:30, sparrows are bathing in the stream, shaking themselves dry in the sunlit dogwood.
The thermometer’s big arrow points straight at 0°C. It was too windy for frost, but fallen red maple leaves cradle white grains of ice.
Sun shining through rain: to the small birds in the treetops, the porch must be ringed in a rainbow. Then it turns to sleet.
Cloudy and cold. A bluebottle fly clings to a porch column, stopped head pointing at five o’clock. Four geese go over—a confusion of honks.
Pileated woodpeckers fly back and forth cackling, their wings black and white as newsprint amid the cathedral-window colors of the leaves.