Weather report, 11 a.m.: Light drizzle. Gusts of wind up to 3 MPH. The still-green lilac looks freakish now against the mostly bare trees.
In the cold rain, a squirrel sits on an elm limb with its back to the trunk working on a walnut, its tail folded over its head like a hood.
A walnut sits on the railing in its soggy, rotten husk like an obscene offering. Two distant fire sirens: when one peaks, the other troughs.
Gray sky, gray woods. The same stream-bank barberry that was the first thing to green up in April is now the last to glow a fiery orange.
The soft clatter of oak leaves on their way to the ground. Dull thumps as a pileated woodpecker excavates a hole, crest like a flaming axe.
Too hot for late October. A yellowjacket circles my pale face as if looking for a paper nest. A mantis lands upside-down beside the door.
A series of loud sneezes from the dead goldenrod at the woods’ edge where a deer must be bedded down. A junco forages in the stiltgrass.
A breeze carries leaves from the dark woods to spiral down into the sunlit yard. A deer feeds on the lilac—the only remaining greenery.
Cumulus clouds at two different heights: the lower ones move twice as fast. Lower still, a scattered flock of robins going the opposite way.
Two antlerless deer pass the porch ten minutes apart, each grunting anxiously. Gray-brown now, they almost vanish into the dead goldenrod.
The brackens in my yard have turned from brown to burgundy. High in a walnut tree, a squirrel checks every webworm tent for unfallen nuts.
Four crows around the houses are voicing loud displeasure at something or other. I hear bemusement in the croak of a raven high overhead.
A bald-faced hornet nest hangs abandoned from the top of a birch. The sun finds a new hole in the forest and blinds me as it tops the ridge.
From behind the springhouse, the opening notes of a song sparrow’s song, and a moment later, the closing notes of a white-throated sparrow.
Many small birds chasing and gleaning. An old fall webworm tent hanging from a walnut tree gets a thorough going-over from a winter wren.
A chipmunk hangs by its hind feet from the thorny branch of a barberry bush, picking berries and stuffing them into its bulging cheeks.