Peonies are to death what roses are to love. After this afternoon’s predicted storms I’m sure they’ll all be bowed, poor thornless things.
A rose-breasted grosbeak flutters up from the creek singing clear, cool notes. A cranefly drifts through a sunbeam, carrying its legs.
A pileated woodpecker explores a fallen tree in the meadow, the scarlet arrow of his crest appearing and disappearing in the dame’s-rocket.
The first four peonies burst their buds in the night and open to a sky of hazy pink. From under the house, a cat’s hollow cough.
Mid-morning. Already I am too warm in my big mammal body, but the oriole’s cheer is relentless. Such a small adjustment from heat to hate!
Up before dawn, I watch the morning star climbing through the treetops. The birds awake: fragments of song like an orchestra tuning up.
Wood thrushes dart back and forth; three squirrel species briefly converge. My yard is less comprehensible to me than a street in Bangkok.
The female towhee chitters until the male flies in, mates, and flies off. Again. Once more. Then she craps and goes back to foraging.
Light rain. A female towhee carries load after load of dead grass into a rosebush while a yearling male redstart sings and noshes in the treetops.
A dandelion-seed parachute drifting past the porch shudders, hit by a raindrop. The streambank grass ripples where a chipmunk runs.
The clouds finally thin out at mid-morning. An orange skipper passes over the thin-bladed grass to settle on the sunny half of a dock leaf.
So clear, even the mourning dove sounds joyful. Muffled thuds of a pileated in a dead tree, knocking—as Rumi would say—from the inside.
Cool and quiet—a thoroughly dull morning, I’m thinking. Just then a hen turkey lands in the yard with a clamor of wings and saunters off.
Hard rain forces the phoebes to dive into the weeds in search of prey, returning drenched to their dry and querulous brood under the eaves.