Despite the constant agitation of the tulip tree’s thin-stemmed leaves, its eponymous sex organs barely move—golden cups open to the clouds.
Just as the early goldenrod fades, the late begins to bloom. At the wood’s edge, the tulip poplar is having a conversation with itself.
I marvel at how tall my tulip trees have grown, nonchalantly waving their leaves. “It was I who planted you! I who saved you from the deer!”
The tulip poplar’s green and gold leaves look almost as they did at first emergence back in May. But their whispering is so much louder now.
The tall tulip poplar is in bloom, yellow dishes open to the flat-white sky as if waiting for a radio signal or a morsel of sun.
The leaves of the tall tulip tree at the wood’s edge are now as big as babies’ ears. A squirrel cries plaintively from its crown.
I look up from my laptop just as a Cooper’s hawk launches from the tulip poplar, flashing through the treetops toward its nest of sticks.
Dull yellow stripes in the fog: the rising sun slipping between ridge-top trees; thin tulip poplar branches chewed bare by a porcupine.
Traffic noise from over the hill is deafening—the icy snowpack has become a sounding board. In the tulip tree, four slow, amorous squirrels.
The big tulip tree at the woods’ edge is releasing its seeds, spinning blades backlit by the sun. The cedar by the door trembles with birds.
A smudge of a sun sits in the crown of the tall tulip poplar like a grotesque fruit. Bluebird and Carolina wren song: a joyous soundtrack.
A murky sunrise. Gnatcatchers high in the tulip tree dart and hover, tiny silhouettes against a cross-hatch of stratus clouds.
A shimmer of rain. One of the lower branches on the big tulip tree has been stripped of bark, but its leaves haven’t gotten the news.
Ten percent of the tulip tree’s leaves have turned yellow in response to the drought. Goldfinches pass through like a yellow wind.
A slight breeze brings a shower of petals from the tulip tree, while a squirrel at the top of the black walnut makes it rain catkins.
Drizzle. Just as I get the binoculars out, the cedar waxwings all take off whistling from the tulip tree and its outrageous yellow blooms.