High clouds spread and thicken—slow yeast in a blue bowl. A hornet hovers behind my head, buzzing like an alarm clock I can’t turn off.
Cold air, warm sun. Two male towhees tweet at each other in the lilac. The old crabapple is coming into bloom, as shockingly pink as ever.
The black birches are in blossom—gray catkins dangling like understated feather boas. Nothing like the wild pear tree’s blaring white.
Overcast and damp. A tom turkey’s lusty declarations echo off the hillside, punctuated by the crisp, interrogatory whistles of a cowbird.
Just-opened leaves on the big tulip poplar, as absurdly small as the unicycles ridden by circus bears. Wind rustles in the dry forest floor.
A gnatcatcher crosses the yard. Its flight as erratic as a butterfly’s is punctuated by the briefest of pauses to ingest its eponymous prey.
A paper wasp slowly inspects the porch railings, long legs dangling. Just inside the woods’ edge, one pale bone of a log gleams in the sun.
White clouds of shadbush blossoms off in the woods. A tiger swallowtail circles the yard—the silent applause of its great yellow wings.
The raspy call of a red-winged blackbird, rare visitor to the mountain. A lone Canada goose goes over, honking steadily. The sun comes up.
A halictid bee lands on the top railing and presses her dark abdomen to the warm wood. A honeybee on a lower rail cleans her antennae.
The temperature rises and with it the insects: those that buzz, those that drift on filmy wings. Behind the trees, the blue ache of sky.
Another cloudless day. The first blue-headed vireo sings softly in the woods. Overhead, angry croaks of a raven being dive-bombed by a crow.
Deep blue, cloudless sky. A mourning dove tries a variation on its usual dirge, the third and fourth notes higher, less hopeless-sounding.
Warm sun, cold wind. Three chickadees make noise in the lilac’s flaming green limbs. The shadow of a vulture glides slowly across the yard.
It’s damp but not raining. A steady drizzle of birdsong, among which I hear a distant phoebe for the first time since the cold snap hit.
Quiet Sunday morning. Up on the hill, a turkey gobbles once every 10 minutes. I glance up from my screen and the clear sky has turned white.