Sticky and warm. A clink of ice in my coffee startles up a deer, her tan coat passing in front of a cloud of blossoming mountain laurel.

The dawn sky turns salmon. Down by the stream, the hollow cough of a deer. A swig of coffee and I’m off to count birds before the rain.

Coffee in my left hand, I weed the herb bed with my right, muttering at the clover: out with you, foul sweetener! as my fingers turn black.

Coffee mug in one hand, I’m weeding stiltgrass from the herb bed. Such a delicate invader, so easy to kill! And yet so tough to eradicate.