4:50 a.m.: moonlight and dawn-light are at equilibrium. Then the whip-poor-will starts his insane chant. Other birds wake and chime in.
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.