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.
Silhouetted against the dawn sky, a wedge of geese intersects the treetops’ lace. In the pauses between calls, the hush of wings.
After last night’s rain, everything glistens but the four gray forms of deer beneath the lilac, their thin clouds of breath.
Halfway up the ridge, a flashlight bobs through the trees, stops, goes out. Then the rustling thuds of hooves in dry leaves. Then silence.
The bubbling song of a wren in the half-dark makes it suddenly half-light. From now till blue noon, everything else is a footnote.
Wind out of the east, and with it the noise of cars and trucks and trains funneled up the hollow’s half a horn. A smudge of sun.
An eight-point buck struts through the neck-high meadow, stirring up sparrows and goldenrod fluff, lifting his tail to shit while he walks.