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.
Through thinning treetops, I spot a red-tailed hawk flapping to gain altitude. Two red oak leaves spiral high over the yard.
The clack of acorns hitting branches on their way to the ground. I’m beating myself up trying to kill a mosquito reconnoitering my torso.
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.
Overcast and cold. Wind hissing in the dry goldenrod and rattling the half-bare crowns of the oaks. A distant crow.
What insect-eater flutters above the canopy of an oak? Too far away to tell. I love the way birds can dance without moving their feet.
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.
The soft clatter of oak leaves on their way to the ground. Dull thumps as a pileated woodpecker excavates a hole, crest like a flaming axe.
The first small holes through to the ridge-top sky have appeared in the green wall opposite my porch. The sound of falling acorns.
Two pairs of pileated woodpeckers breakfast 100 feet apart, one on adjoining oaks and the other side by side on the trunk of a locust.
A branch breaks at the top of an oak, clatters through the too-loose grips of lower limbs and lands in the new snow’s too-shallow grave.
Cold at sunrise. A squirrel gathers clumps of dry leaves from the last oak to still have them and stuffs them into the top of a hollow snag.
Cold and gray—November weather at last. Oak leaves twirl and somersault past the porch, accompanied by a few motes of snow.
While oak leaves spiral into the yard, six vultures tilt and pivot high above, searching for an updraft, then turn and drift on south.
Clumps of snow still dot the crowns of oaks—small clouds, a rain of angelic hats. Flaming orange and red leaves rattle in the wind.