The walnut tree next to the road is stripping in the wind, its leaves flying off in great yellow gusts. The steady ticking of a chipmunk.
Another cloudless morning. Chipmunks chase each other through a bar of sunlight on the forest floor. The distant, metallic calls of a raven.
Sunrise stains the treetops. The woods are full of anxious-sounding calls: chipmunks, jays, nuthatches, an endlessly scolding squirrel…
Overcast and cool. Chipmunks begin ticking, one after the other, all over the hillside. Suddenly it’s raining. Suddenly it isn’t.
Cloudy and cool. Cricket trills and ticks are joined by chipmunk tocks. A tulip tree leaf sails in wide circles with its stem for a rudder.
The light between showers. A groundhog plows through the stiltgrass in the yard. Later, two chipmunks touch noses at the end of the porch.
A chipmunk scurries through the garden with a wad of dried leaves between her teeth and disappears beneath a flowerless clump of peonies.
A flash of blue as one indigo bunting chases another out of the yard. From within the rock wall, a chipmunk’s hollow tock.
Cloudy and cold. The weeds below the porch tremble where a chipmunk forages for seeds. The dog wanders into the garden to graze on grass.
Momentary things: A chipmunk pressing the rain from its fur. The swaying of a branch from which a grackle has just taken flight.
A cloudless sky. Chipmunks and squirrels run back and forth across the melting snow. A gurgling chorus from all the springs and ditches.
A few degrees above freezing. Just inside the woods’ edge, three chipmunks in full mating frenzy race back and forth across the snow.
It’s cold and gray, but a chipmunk has emerged from hibernation and sits on a log protruding above the snow without moving for half an hour.
The rain-soaked forest shines in the sun. Two chipmunks are calling, and at first I mistake their metronomes for dripping water.
An inversion layer brings freight train and traffic noise to mix with rustling leaves, crow scold-calls, a chipmunk’s metronome. My music.
A Cooper’s hawk hurtles out of the woods and alights briefly in a yard tree. The assembly-line sound of territorial chipmunks never lets up.