black walnut

Yellow walnut leaflets come loose and flutter down in the slightest breeze, infiltrating for a few moments the confederacy of butterflies.

Humid and cool. A nuthatch spirals up rather than down a walnut tree trunk, turning upside-down only when it finds something to eat.

The walnut tree beside the road is in bloom—long green catkins like fringes on antique lampshades. A least skipper flits through the meadow.

Sun! A gray squirrel noshes on black walnut catkins, then drops deliberately to a thin locust branch five feet below and clings, see-sawing.

In the soft light of a half-hidden sun, the old red maple beside the road is ruddy with blossoms. The sound of teeth chiselling a walnut.

Every morning, the carpet of sunlight on the forest floor grows a little larger. The steady rasp of squirrel teeth on black walnut shells.

With the walnuts bare, I can see the aspens again—now a flickering orange, like that tree in the Mabinogion burning without being consumed.