The soft clatter of oak leaves on their way to the ground. Dull thumps as a pileated woodpecker excavates a hole, crest like a flaming axe.
A breeze carries leaves from the dark woods to spiral down into the sunlit yard. A deer feeds on the lilac—the only remaining greenery.
The yard is white with the first frost, prostrate myrtle and stiltgrass leaves outlined as if in chalk. Leaves spiral down in the still air.
Most of the maples have dropped their leaves since I was last on the porch, but the towhee’s breast still flickers rust-red in the lilac.
Sunlight filtered through thin clouds—it’s almost spring-like, apart from the yellow leaves, the goldenrod, a white-throated sparrow’s song.
The trees at the edge of the woods are now an almost even mix of green and yellow leaves—until the sun comes out and turns them all to gold.
Clumps of snow still dot the crowns of oaks—small clouds, a rain of angelic hats. Flaming orange and red leaves rattle in the wind.
The wind is busy dismantling its favorite instrument. I can now see clear to the ridgetop through the thinning trees—the sky beyond.
Rain. And in the woods, a continual downward flight of leaves, meandering from side to side like all lost things. The rain falls harder.
White-throated sparrows in the meadow—their quavery notes. Behind the curtain of gold leaves, a split-second glimpse of a hawk’s wing.
Mist and quarry noise. In my four-day absence, green has drained from the trees, and the aliens in my yard have put up three blue flowers.
Colored leaves turn backwards in the cold wind—still the same pale green. A pileated woodpecker’s distant chant.
Overcast. The softly glowing reds and yellows, the hum of crickets, even the normally annoying call of a towhee all inspire nostalgia.
As so often in fall, a clear morning sky means not clarity but inversion—the bellowing of trucks. A yellow leaf lands with a soft click.
After a warm night, half the lilac’s leaves are brown and curling. What is it about warmth this time of year that makes it so debilitating?
Most of the edge and understory trees are bare now, and I can see under the oak canopy clear to the crest of the ridge and the sky beyond.