downy woodpecker

Overcast and cold. I am listening to the woodpeckers the way one listens to a marimba, savoring the varied, rich tones of dead wood.

It’s cold. Small groups of leaves scurry this way and that. The machine-gun rattle of a downy woodpecker on an especially hard hollow limb.

Sunrise tints the clouds orange. I squint through eyelids made bleary with pink-eye and lack of sleep. A downy woodpecker’s soft rattle.

Dark and rainy. A loud tapping from the far side of the cherry snag next to the porch where a downy woodpecker must’ve spent the night.

Bright sun, cold shadows. Down in the hollow, two downy woodpeckers are engaged in a head-banging competition. The neighbor’s rooster crows.

The rapid-fire drumming of a downy woodpecker on a hollow limb. A field sparrow’s ascending call. My partner snaps a photo of her feet.