First snow of the year: a squall of small flakes. The flamingo in the garden rapidly acquires a white shawl.
The all-night rain has stripped the leaves off the witch hazel, revealing the flowers, some clutching raindrops in their pale skinny petals.
The hornets stream in and out of their hole in the garden, departing to the south, returning from the east. A towhee calling in the dogwood.
Goldfinch, nuthatch, catbird, wren. The herb-garden chipmunk, cheeks bulging, pauses on top of the wall to groom its paws.
Thin clouds; the sun is a bright smear. A hummingbird hovers over the spent flowers in my garden, nudging a yellow leaf with her bill.
A hornet nuzzles my arm like a hoverfly but doesn’t sting. In the garden, the buzz of hummingbirds dueling over scraps of bloom.
Weeding the garden is never dull. Yesterday morning a milk snake writhed around my wrist; today, hornets boil up and sting my hand.
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.