From the herb bed, I hear the squeaks of a hummingbird sipping from the columbine. Then he’s in my face, gorget like a small red torch.
The first purple irises are opening along the rock wall, their three petals descending like the landing gear on spaceships.
Watched by a chipmunk at the end of the stone wall, I hold a mouthful of coffee in my cheeks, do my best to look as if I know how to live.
Where the fresh snow has just melted on the concrete walkway, a bright green blush of lichen. The nuthatch’s three nasal notes.
Bare ground in the herb bed has risen into spires—a city of frost. A downy woodpecker booms like a pileated on a hollow limb.
A crow flies off cawing and returns silently to the same tree. In the garden, comfrey leaves have begun turning face-down into the earth.
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.
Overcast and damp. In the garden, the new leaves of lamb’s-ears look fresher than they did last fall, delicately furred, alive, alert.
A wind in the night swept the broom off the porch; I find it in the garden. A thin milk of clouds. The sun’s whiskers slowly disappear.
Fine snow blurs the edges of the porch. The feral cat has walked in her own footsteps through the garden, a clear print in each old crater.
Tuesday’s rain still roars in the creek and gurgles under the yard. The moss garden has turned mountainous from an orogeny of ice.
Steady rain, and the temperature just two degrees above freezing. In the herb bed, the pale blue wheel of a blossom on the invasive myrtle.
I pick the last few unsplit witch hazel nuts in my garden, hoping I can witness their famed explosions. I line them up on top of my monitor.
The witch hazel in my garden is just coming into bloom, yellow tentacles uncurling, the bunched nuts like maledictions waiting to burst.
Sitting in the garden while the porch’s new coat of paint dries, I notice the peony leaves too have turned red. A waxwing’s glossy calls.
First rays of sun on the garden, and already a monarch is drinking from the half-opened asters, orange panes of its wings trembling, aglow.