5:00 am; the stars are bright. Orion straddles the ridge, and as I watch, a meteor streaks from his belt. A small, dark moth circles my face.
Out of the darkness and fog before dawn, a sudden yelp. Only when it moves farther off am I able to place it: a raccoon. The newest tenant.
Rain and fog. Nuthatches, a wood pewee, the liquid song of a winter wren. Behind me, loud thumps from some large animal under the house.
Steady drizzle after three weeks of drought. The quiet, continuous insect trill in the grass sounds the way I feel—however that may be.
Carolina wrens counter-singing from the springhouse, her Zzzzit! simultaneous with his TeakettleTeakettleTeakettle: the sound of the steam.
The hollow sound of claws on loose bark: another furious squirrel chase, this time in the dead elm. The chaser pauses to lick its genitals.
Rising late, I see the sun has arrived before me, burning through the haze, striping the wet woods with glistening paths, warming my seat.
A squirrel in a black walnut tree drops four nuts in a row. Clumsiness? Sabotage? Another squirrel comes running, and a noisy chase ensues.
Cool and humid. Up in the woods, two chipmunks start a border dispute, ticking in sync like bombs set to go off at the same moment.
The air is still and quiet. In the springhouse meadow, the ears of a doe appear above the goldenrod, pivoting like leaves in a private wind.
For the second dawn in a row, it’s 47°F. I watch two midges hover above the railing. A long blast of the paper-plant whistle: morning shift.
In the wild black cherry limb that hangs over the entrance to the trail up the ridge, red clumps of stems, a squirrel getting its breakfast.
I’m beginning to distinguish individual locomotives by their whistles. The majority merely say Look Out, but a few almost manage I Am.
Sun in the treetops. A doe and her fawn are consuming the future of the forest, one oak or tulip poplar seedling at a time. The doe burps.