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.

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.

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.