A thin spot in the clouds close enough to the sun to turn yellow like a bruise. A turkey vulture circles. The usual clamor of small birds.
A titmouse hops from one limb-stump to another on the newly truncated cherry snag. Five minutes later, a brown creeper scoots up the bole.
The sun glimmers through thin clouds, backlighting the green lilac and the sideways-blowing snow. The wail of a freight train on the wind.
With the leaves down, I can see deep into the woods: two pileateds work both sides of a birch. A redtail hawk flies just below the treetops.
A vulture rocks in the wind above the ridge. Juncos and white-throated sparrows flit into the lilac by twos and threes, chirp and fly out.
A wet, white fur on the fallen elm limbs and the statue they destroyed. A squirrel scrambles up the snag and disappears into the den hole.
Calm. Sandy’s center must be close. The top half of the dead elm tree has blown down, breaking the back of the old dog statue.
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.