I feel watched, somehow. I spot a round gap high in the foliage, dark and deep. Then there’s the den hole in the elm, an empty eye-socket…
Sun shining through fog and the growing tents of fall webworms. A sharp-shinned hawk sits atop the dead elm, his head swiveling all around.
Two male flickers fighting over the dead elm and its den-hole joust in the garden, jabbing and feinting with their long bills.
A cloudless blue sky. It’s hard to tell the pale elm flowers from the sunlight shining on bare twigs and branches. A dove calls and calls.
The flickers that have been hanging around the yard copulate next to the old den hole in the elm snag—the one a black snake raided in 2012.
A pileated woodpecker lands on the dead elm. She drums just below the old flicker den hole, then peers into it, moving her head all about.
A rodent face appears in the mouth of the old flicker hole in the elm snag. It watches me for a while before fading back into the darkness.
The den hole in the dead elm seems less than empty, like an eye socket in a skull. A single-prop plane goes over, hidden by the clouds.
The soft colors of trees just coming into blossom: birch, elm, shadbush. The bright yellow on yellow of a bumblebee visiting the daffodils.
A squirrel climbs the elm with a mouthful of dried leaves, goes into the old flicker hole and turns to face out, ready for other contenders.
A wet, white fur on the fallen elm limbs and the statue they destroyed. A squirrel scrambles up the snag and disappears into the den hole.
Calm. Sandy’s center must be close. The top half of the dead elm tree has blown down, breaking the back of the old dog statue.
In the cold rain, a squirrel sits on an elm limb with its back to the trunk working on a walnut, its tail folded over its head like a hood.
Four bluebirds take turns checking out the empty flicker hole in the dead elm—a winter nest site, maybe? A raven flies past, croaking.
A squirrel creeps up to the flicker hole in the dead elm, but another squirrel pops out chittering and gives chase through the treetops.
A pileated woodpecker comes cackling into the dead elm, then quietly gets to work: hop down the trunk a few inches, listen for ants, repeat.