lilac

Just as I come out, a doe and her grown fawn emerge from the lilac. We stand and stare at each other. I notice one of her ears has a crimp.

After a night of high winds, the lilac is more threadbare than ever, and in the crowns of the oaks, only the odd clot of a drey remains.

Melted frost shining like dew on the lilac. A deer trots down the road and into the yard to graze, raising her head to keep an eye on me.

Next to the mostly brown woods, the great yellow blob of the lilac seems almost scandalous. It trembles as small birds pass through it.

In the downpour, a chipping sparrow forages for its breakfast beneath the lilac leaves, gleaning insects that sought shelter from the rain.

Above the almost-blooming lilac, a hummingbird is doing his courtship display, rocketing back and forth like the pendulum of a crazed clock.

Flies and butterflies, gnats and gnatcatchers, blue-headed vireo, paper wasp. The towhee in the lilac bush starts his song with a stutter.

Windy and cold. A ladybird beetle creeps slowly across the porch floor, warmed by intermittent sun. Buds swell yellow on the lilac bush.

The excited yelling of my young niece, out tracking animals in the snow with her grandmother. A Carolina wren scolds from the lilac bush.

At last, the ground is white again. The cardinal sheltering in the lilac bush flings the snow from her feathers with a flick of her wings.

A steady shimmer of rain. Wet tree trunks glow gray-green with lichen, and the lilac looks festive with its orange strings of dead bindweed.

A foraging chickadee gives the lilac twigs a thorough grooming. I shut my eyes against the sun and see its white prints all over my retina.

A skim of snow on the springhouse roof glows faintly blue under the blue sky. The sun turns the old, limp lilac leaves into stained glass.