The sudden buzz of a hummingbird rocketing back and forth in a mad parabola of attraction, the female watching from a dead lilac limb.
Clear skies at last. In the middle of the yard, the gurgling of an underground spring beside the dead wild rose bush where a phoebe perches.
Garlic heads in the yard are beginning to uncurl—curved arrows pointing in all directions. But the rain still follows its straight road.
Fragments of vireo and goldfinch song mingle with the rain’s thunderous applause. A few filmy-winged insects still somehow manage to fly.
Gray sky in which the sun slowly surfaces like a carp in a murky pond. Rain-slick leaves glisten. A great spangled fritillary zigzags past.
Weak sunlight: a milkiness in the sky like the film that forms over the eyes of the dead. A lone fawn runs bleating through the forest.
Bright sun and the clearest air in weeks. The familiar woods 50 feet away is a dark wall with here and there a loophole of intense green.
An early-morning storm rumbles off to the north. Flashes of scarlet: tanager at the woods’ edge, ruby-throated hummingbird at the beebalm.
Sunrise, and the cricket music is augmented by a trio of chipping sparrows, the fledgling begging for food while its parents mate.
The light between showers. A groundhog plows through the stiltgrass in the yard. Later, two chipmunks touch noses at the end of the porch.
A question mark butterfly on the railing next to my boots. A cuckoo’s soft call sounds like an answer to the incessant caws of a crow.
Unsettled weather; the leaves on the trees turn this way and that. Two turkey vultures circle high above the ridge, rocking in the wind.
I look up from my book and realize it’s raining again, a downward shimmer. I try forgetting the names of unseen birds—this buzz, that cry.
A squirrel stymied in crossing the porch by my unexpected presence approaches warily, watching me the way a farmer watches the weather.
A great spangled fritillary lands in the grass, folds its orange wings shut and turns into a dead leaf, barely moving for the next hour.
Yarrow, fleabane, silky dogwood… white is in style. But the cabbage white butterflies still prefer the purple remnants of dame’s-rocket.