After an orange sunrise, the morning turns overcast and still. Two pileated woodpeckers fly over, one after the other—slow silent missiles.
I can smell the rain coming two hours away. When it finally arrives, mixed in with the falling leaves, two spring peepers begin to call.
A winter wren’s wandering burble from above the dry creek. A visitor brings out his old-time banjo and tunes it with an electronic tuner.
Sun in the treetops. A bluejay lands on a bare branch and does a good Cooper’s hawk impression: eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh. Such an April sound!
When the wind blows from the west, I can hear people talking at the new house site. When it blows from the east, the trees creak and groan.
BAM. BAM. BAM. The red crest of a pileated woodpecker flashes into view from the dead side of a maple, sunrise orange on the hill behind.
The yard’s alive with birds: sparrows, jays, robins. In the yellowing wall of foliage at the woods’ edge, I see the first chinks of sky.
Before light, a pair of spring peepers calling down by the boggy corner of the field—ready to spring again, if only it weren’t time to fall.
A squirrel with a walnut in its mouth trots across the porch, right under my chair. Five minutes later, another follows suit. What the hell?
Clouds at dawn change from red to orange to pale yellow, like black gum trees in reverse. A towhee lands in the lilac—a splash of rose.
33°F at dawn. The quarry is loud in the east, and it’s hard to shake the impression that I’m listening to the dull machinery of the sun.
A least flycatcher materializes in the cherry tree, finds three invisible morsels on as many leaves, issues a crisp che-bek! and flies off.
Through the darkness and fog, loud thuds from the black walnut trees that encircle the houses, a slow carpet bombing that goes on for weeks.
First light, and a great-horned owl is calling down in the hollow, the first three notes of each call drowned out by this rabble of a rain.