Could that be thunder? The sun struggles to shine. On the flattened grass where snow sat until yesterday, a scatter of black walnut husks.
Little sign left of last night’s ice storm, except beneath the black walnut trees in the yard: long, brown run-off stains on the snow.
Frost on the grass like mildew. An echoey rasping sound that can only be a squirrel chiseling at a black walnut shell inside a hollow tree.
Siskins like moveable leaves in a bare birch. A squirrel chiseling a skull-hard walnut falls silent when it reaches the soft cerebrum.
Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.
Overcast and still. The hollow thumps of a pileated woodpecker foraging for breakfast. Walnuts fall on the back roof with an alarming crash.
Fog. The splat of a walnut on the driveway, knocked loose by a foraging squirrel. A rabbit grazing the sodden grass freezes.
A cloudless sky. In the bright sunlight, the tattered remnants of webworm nests gleam like flags of surrender at the top of the walnut tree.
A cicada starts his electric saw and stops. It’s too cold for cicadas. The sky’s a deep blue. A walnut leaf curled like a boat floats down.
A walnut leaflet falling into the yard rotates on its axis like a yellow spoke in search of a wheel. The brown dog lies panting in the sun.
Five nuthatches land in the walnut tree and begin scuttling up and down its trunk in the pouring rain, poking and probing the furrowed bark.
A dark heap on the snow where a squirrel husked a walnut. Two gunshots in quick succession. Soon the mountain will be dotted with gut piles.
Two squirrels circle warily beside the road. A third crosses the stream with a walnut between its teeth and seeing them, takes to the trees.
Fourth-quarter moon in the branches of the black walnut, facing back toward the east and the first stain of dawn.
Cold, gray, and windy. Old webworm tents freighted with caterpillar corpses flap in the otherwise bare branches of the walnut trees.
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.