Cold, all-morning rain. Tall goldenrod stalks bow their shaggy heads. From up on the ridge, the nasal calls of blue jays.
Where the sun shines through elms and birches, almost half the leaves are already yellow. In the meadow, the goldenrod is at its height.
The wind from a distant storm sends yellowed walnut leaves spinning to the ground. In the meadow, the first goldenrod blossoms are opening.
Bright sun, and meltwater drips from the roof despite the cold. I think about microclimates—pits in the snow around dark goldenrod stalks.
A field sparrow forages in the seed heads of goldenrod inches from the porch, eye a black stone set in a white ring, keeping me in sight.
Another cold morning: just one bee for all this goldenrod. The neighbors’ rooster like some teenage band member practicing for a pep rally.
Just as the early goldenrod fades, the late begins to bloom. At the wood’s edge, the tulip poplar is having a conversation with itself.
The cloying smell of goldenrod from below the porch. A flower fly comes up to inspect my tan khaki trousers, hovering an inch from my knee.
In the shadows of the trees, the grass bent low by dew. From the sunlit meadow, the drone of cold-hardy bumblebees servicing the goldenrod.
A faint dust of frost on the old goldenrod stalks along the creek. A crow chases a crow, yells breaking in the middle like a boy at puberty.
Overcast and cold. Wind hissing in the dry goldenrod and rattling the half-bare crowns of the oaks. A distant crow.
Weak sun. The meadow seems haunted by strange winds, seedy goldenrod heads bowing and swaying as flocks of sparrows move through.
Under a bowed head of goldenrod, a black and yellow garden spider hangs head-down, her web glittering with drops from last night’s rain.
A squirrel on the lowest branch of the walnut tree next to the road scolds something hidden in the goldenrod, shaking with each harsh cry.
Mid-morning. The sun slowly fades behind thickening clouds. Chickadees and titmice flit among the dried goldenrod heads, arguing loudly.
A series of loud sneezes from the dead goldenrod at the woods’ edge where a deer must be bedded down. A junco forages in the stiltgrass.