Four degrees above freezing. When I nudge the foot of a hornet clinging to the bottom of the railing, she swings her leg out in a slow arc.
A large flock of Canada geese flies low overhead. As I listen to them fade away, I think about the Doppler Effect—how it flavors parting.
Sunny and almost warm. Armadas of leaves sail out across the meadow. A pale green lacewing flutters past the porch, fighting a headwind.
In the dim light, the sound of eight bone knives being whetted against a sapling. The buck straightens up and gives me a baleful look.
Juncos forage in the meadow, softly twittering. The dull booms of distant gunshots like great lead spikes being driven into the earth.
The tulip poplar’s green and gold leaves look almost as they did at first emergence back in May. But their whispering is so much louder now.
At the base of the hill, the meadow is white with frost. A small deer carries the white torch of its tail up into the sunlit woods.
Fourth-quarter moon in the branches of the black walnut, facing back toward the east and the first stain of dawn.
Cold and clear. Half the trees on the ridge are bare now, leaving narrow, blue windows all along the crest for the sun to pour through.
Cold, gray, and windy. Old webworm tents freighted with caterpillar corpses flap in the otherwise bare branches of the walnut trees.
First snow of the year: a squall of small flakes. The flamingo in the garden rapidly acquires a white shawl.
Cold rain. Three sparrows forage in the weeds next to a barberry bush, its green branches harboring masses of blood-red berries.
Cloudy and brisk; the woods are full of falling leaves. A sharp-shinned hawk flaps and glides just above the treetops, heading south.
Patches of frost in the yard. A yellow jacket from the underground nest in the garden lands on the shoulder of my sunlit coat.
Sunny and cold. The soft whistles of white-throated sparrows are slowly subsumed by the hundred voices of an approaching bulldozer.
Unlike last night’s full moon, even this dim smudge of a sun is painful to look at. The sound of rodent teeth chiseling a black walnut.