lilac

Cold rain. Tiny leaves make pointillist patterns against the fog. Only the lilac is fully leafed out—big green alien still on its own clock.

Cold air, warm sun. Two male towhees tweet at each other in the lilac. The old crabapple is coming into bloom, as shockingly pink as ever.

Warm sun, cold wind. Three chickadees make noise in the lilac’s flaming green limbs. The shadow of a vulture glides slowly across the yard.

Quiet except for a distant plane. A pair of squirrels race nose-to-tail through the yard, slowing only when they clamber through the lilac.

At sunrise, the steady drumming of rain on the roof. Buds have burst on the lilac bush–a cloud of intense green against the brown woods.

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.