spicebush

A downy woodpecker in the spicebush hangs from a silk moth cocoon, trying to reach the pupa, but the soft stuff defeats her hammer and nail.

It’s cloudy, but the forest understorey glows with autumn color. A phoebe hawks flies from the spicebush, gurgling with satisfaction.

At the woods’ edge, a jumble of bone-white sticks: spicebush branches debarked by rabbits. A gray blur where a titmouse grooms in the lilac.

Around the side of the house, a male goldfinch gorges on spicebush berries—silent for once, as if unwilling to share his find.

I get up to pick the ripe berries on the spicebush in my garden. Allspice aroma wafts up from the red drupes as I pinch them off the twigs.

The spicebush is a haze of yellow beyond the springhouse. Another too-warm morning. What will be left of spring by warbler time?

A black-throated blue warbler alights in the dead cherry. I follow it to the spicebush, where yellow-throated vireos sing bright red notes.