Siskins like moveable leaves in a bare birch. A squirrel chiseling a skull-hard walnut falls silent when it reaches the soft cerebrum.
Now that the walnuts have all fallen, a squirrel deigns to pick one off the ground. The dogwood beside the stream pullulates with sparrows.
When a squirrel sounds the hawk alarm, a sparrow on a branch freezes so well that soon even I am convinced it’s part of the tree.
A bold squirrel crosses the porch, going right under my chair. Below the top railing, an upside-down fly spins madly in a net of silk.
Fog. The splat of a walnut on the driveway, knocked loose by a foraging squirrel. A rabbit grazing the sodden grass freezes.
On and on, a squirrel scolds some unseen predator. I scan the slope for fox, mink, feral cat—anything to break the monotony of pale brown.
Up early, I can’t set my hat-brim low enough to block the sun, so settle for bedazzlement. Two squirrels by the stream walking in circles.
Four squirrels descend a tree in single file and disperse into the brush. The stream still runs high. A nuthatch rattles his anxiety cup.
Fog and steady rain. A drenched gray squirrel bounds across what’s left of the snow and clears the rushing stream with a flying leap.
Two below zero. A squirrel races through the front garden, belly-flops into the yard below, and makes it to the woods in eight bounds.
The snow shovel lies supine, fresh snow in its scoop. Wind-blown icicle drips dot the squirrel and rabbit tracks with random punctuation.
A distant siren. From a hole near the top of a tall black locust, a squirrel whines at precisely the same pitch.
One squirrel doggedly trails another through the falling snow. A third joins in and it becomes a high-speed chase, full of yelps and whines.
Thick fog. Snow melt-water drips onto the porch roof. A sudden scrabbling of squirrel claws on locust bark—that waterfall sound.
Three mourning doves disturbed by a foraging squirrel take flight. Like fast notes blown on a shakuhachi, the whistling of their wings.
A squirrel tumbles out of the big maple and catches itself in the top of a locust sapling, tail wrapping around the branch like a fifth leg.