tent caterpillars

Cold drizzle. A brown thrasher improvises at the woods’ edge, and I spot the first tent caterpillar web—a tiny white flag in a wild cherry.

In the cold wind, a gray fish fights against the lilac twig that snagged it: the collapsed remains of a caterpillar tent fallen from a tree.

Tent caterpillar webs billow, white as sails—still full of the dawn fog. Two nuthatches kvetch back and forth at the woods’ edge.

Clear and cold. In their communal tent, the caterpillars lie still as mummies in a tomb—gray forms already in their burial wrappings.

A female indigo bunting drops into the cherry tree to snack on tiny tent caterpillars, reaching daintily into their vase-shaped nest.

Tropical humidity. A tent caterpillar clings to the edge of my warped old end table like the last unrotted section of a Victorian fringe.