I bask in the sun, listening to the creek’s borborygmi. In my last dream before waking, it had grown huge and thunderous as an angry god.

Male cardinals bathe side-by-side in the stream, then resume chasing. A jay perches in a dogwood bush shaking the water from his wings.

In the holiday silence, a pileated woodpecker hammering a high-pitched snag is the loudest thing. The stream gurgles. Distant church bells.

The stream’s dark thread. A jay pierces it with his bill three times. The scarlet oak I planted so long ago is flying all its red flags.

The barberry beside the stream is turning from the inside out: under a green cloak, salmon pink, blood-red beads, the hurdy-gurdy of a wren.

A silver-spotted skipper flies back and forth in front of the porch a dozen times. A grackle comes in croaking for a drink from the creek.