oaks

Cold (-6C). The wind drives pin-pricks of snow against my cheek. I squint at the sun through bare oak branches. It’s good to be back.

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.

Warm morning after a cold night, and the oaks are shedding leaves: a dry sound as they hit lower branches, like the ticking of many clocks.

The sun blazes through the orange crown of an oak. High up in the cloudless sky, a sleek F-16 trailed by its slow, over-sized roar.

Oaks sway in the wind, their leaves gleaming in the strong sunlight. Acorns rattle down. A snatch of migrant birdsong I can’t quite place.

Trembling in the top of an oak where a squirrel gathers green acorns. Blurry shadows from a sun shining through cloud. A cuckoo’s soft call.

A hollow oak dead for 30 years has finally collapsed, its fragments piled next to the stump like abandoned clothes. The first few raindrops.

An oak leaf wanders into the yard, resting in the lee of a snowdrift on its five curled tips before cart-wheeling off into the field.

An oak up in the woods drops a top limb just as I am looking. The sky is gray and gravid with rain. The limb goes head-first like any diver.

Sallow sky; a yellow pustule of sun. In a tall oak, a pileated woodpecker bangs his head, attracting an entourage of smaller woodpeckers.

Brown patches in the yard where deer have pawed the snow aside to eat myrtle. An oak leaf curled like a stillborn spirals down from the sky.

Flakes in the wind—not from the clouds, but the ground. A large, dried oak leaf curled like a boat floats down and lands on the snow.