The continual, three-syllable chatter of goldfinches. Wild garlic stalks have begun to straighten and the heads to shed their white masks.

The humidity has dropped at last. A goldfinch lands on a stalk of purple bergamot, bobbing in the breeze like an extra, yellow flower.

Clear and cold. The continual, waxy chatter of goldfinches, their plumage now a patchwork of winter’s dull green and summer’s crayon yellow.

Now that thistles are going to seed, the goldfinches are nesting at last. Two males chase—streaks of crayon-yellow through the treetops.

Fragments of vireo and goldfinch song mingle with the rain’s thunderous applause. A few filmy-winged insects still somehow manage to fly.

The sky is clearing, the low-angled, mid-morning sun illuminating the woods for minutes at a time. Finches in the birches. A distant raven.