The opening day of rifle season. Deer run back and forth through the laurel—each shift of the wind must bring a different human’s stink.
Soft-focus shadows from the high, thin clouds. Chickadees are calling chirree-chirrup, a car door slams, a crow goes yelling into the sun.
The female cardinal—a being guaranteed to unsettle conservative Catholics—answers her mate’s anxious chirps, crest bent back by the wind.
A tulip poplar key helicopters past the porch, shook loose by a squirrel at the edge of the woods rummaging among the spikey cups of seeds.
As if giving thanks, the thin, wavering call of a white-throated sparrow. The dawn sky half-cloud, half-clear. A distant owl.
Damp and overcast, but every bird on the mountain seems to be passing through my yard, wings flashing like old coins, like wooden nickels.
Rain and fog with raven: silent, just above the treetops. White-throated sparrows and a freight train whistling at the same pitch.
Gray morning with raven: that gutteral, wild cry so inadequately rendered in birders’ onomatopoeia as Bonk, bonk.
The still, gray morning is interrupted by the stuttering roar of a pickup full of hunters hauling an enormous homemade wooden tree stand.
A half-grown barn cat crawls out from under the house, gray and bedraggled as a clump of drier lint. One jay rasping at the top of a locust.
Cold and quiet, except for the sound of incisors chiseling a bone-hard walnut and the wind hissing through scattered marcescent leaves.
Drizzle turns into downpour and the fog retreats up the ridge. An hour later the rain eases and the fog rolls in again, erasing the trees.
A red-bellied woodpecker’s head going up and down at the top of a tall locust, squeaking like a red marker on the whiteboard sky.
A doe flees the urgent attentions of the resident 6-point, his burp-like grunts. Overhead, the loud cry of a crow chasing a hawk by itself.