I take my eye off the clear sky for a moment and suddenly there are clouds—four streaks beside the moon’s thin frown. Cerulean warbler song.
Leaves still cling to the tall locusts—threadbare coats of gold beneath the fourth-quarter moon, pale as a discarded toenail clipping.
A galaxy of sparkles in the yard where the sunlight hits a patch of frost. The fourth-quarter moon hangs low over the trees. A grouse drums.
Wind and sun and bitter cold. A faint trace of white on the ground, as if left over from last night’s full moon.
Wind tosses the leaves that last night were glistening in the moonlight. A blue jay does its red-tailed hawk imitation, but nobody’s fooled.
A phoebe flies back and forth between the sunlit treetops, criss-crossing the moon. I can hear the clicks of its bill as it catches insects.
I poke my head out at first light. The moon has disappeared, and in its place the first towhee’s shrill and cheerful call. I go back to bed.
Fourth-quarter moon in the branches of the black walnut, facing back toward the east and the first stain of dawn.
Unlike last night’s full moon, even this dim smudge of a sun is painful to look at. The sound of rodent teeth chiseling a black walnut.
Moon in the morning sky like a broken plate. Squirrels are climbing walnut trees and descending with fat green globes between their teeth.
The fourth-quarter moon is the thinnest of Cheshire-Cat grins among the treetops. Sunrise reddens the western ridge. A nuthatch calls.
First light. The half-moon has just cleared the trees. Behind the other bird calls, an almost continuous rattle from the chipping sparrows.
Dawn, and the peepers are still calling. The bridal-wreath bush glows brighter than the thin grin of a moon rising through the trees.
An hour before dawn, the half-moon is a sideways emoticon among a scatter of bright pixels. A screensaver takes over and the yard goes dark.
A morning so clear, the half moon looks close enough to touch. A squirrel still spooked by some long-gone predator has yelled itself hoarse.
A plane drags its cross-shaped shadow over the ridge, loud as an evangelist. A few clouds. Half a moon abandoned in the center of the sky.