In the dim light of a misty morning, rain-slick surfaces glow: green lichens, purple raspberry canes, the yellow blades of foxtail millet.
Flushed from hiding, the Cooper’s hawk easily eludes the crow, skimming the treetops like a wide-fletched arrow still attached to the bow.
Joining the robins, titmice and song sparrow in the dawn chorus: a barred owl. The deer grazing in the yard look up, swiveling their ears.
Thin clouds at mid-morning. Four nuthatches in the treetops are all raising the same argument, the sun a yellow limit point in their midst.
Clear and cold at sunrise. The feral cat slinks across the springhouse meadow. Muffled sounds of a squirrel scolding from inside its drey.
Back below freezing. The word breeze no longer fits the low winds, full of bite and lightly salted with snow.
Wet with a clearing wind at daybreak, and the yard rings with robin calls. I hear a loud rummaging in the nest up under the eaves.
Two crows locate a small gray hawk in a maze of gray branches. But their angry calls soon taper off, and they sit silently under a gray sky.
A rapid whistling of wings: a woodcock hurtles through the yard at eye-level. Thank you, Congress, for giving back our slow, dark mornings.
The distant drumming of a pileated woodpecker is the loudest thing. A faint rustle in the field, the yard, the woods as the rain moves in.
A warm morning—53°F. A Cooper’s hawk calls, a screech owl trills, but the squirrels go on rummaging through the leaf litter. I spy a gnat.
A long dark streak on the red maple beside the road: sap is rising. A crow at the top of the tallest pine hunkers down to deliver every caw.
A downy woodpecker plays a dead locust limb like a marimba, moving rapidly from pitch to pitch, a tremor of red against the blue sky.
Right after a mourning dove’s song, a screech owl trills at the very same pitch. The sun floats free of the horizon and into the bluest sky.