Steady rain; the early-morning light lasts for hours. A large, grayish blob halfway up a tree turns out to be only a caterpillar tent.
The first holes have appeared in the forest wall, blue sky above the ridgeline leaking through. A dozen silent jays skim the treetops.
How does the poison ivy know to turn the same salmon as the red maple it has infiltrated? A phoebe chases a kinglet from the roadside weeds.
The downpour eases, and the cattail leaves stop dancing. A burst of bird calls from within the dogwood thicket: waxwings, towhees.
Three migrant catbirds land in the spicebush beside my front door, drawn by the berries’ stop-sign red. Between each berry, a scolding mew.
Past 6:00, and it’s still warm and cloudy. But the moon soon breaks through into good weather. As its glow dims, the breeze turns cool.
A harvestman stilting across the porch stops to poke each fallen walnut leaf. Up in the woods, the sudden squirrel rattle that means Hawk.
Thick fog at daybreak, as if the bright moon of 2am had spread a kind of mildew over the mountain. Train whistle. A nuthatch’s nasal call.
Dawn breeze. The whine of tires from the highway over the ridge is punctuated by the heavy thwacks of falling walnuts.
I finally realize what sage leaves remind me of, rough with papillae, moist with dew: but for the gray-green color, they could be tongues.
Sitting in the garden while the porch’s new coat of paint dries, I notice the peony leaves too have turned red. A waxwing’s glossy calls.
A succession of anxious or querulous calls—nuthatch, crow, Cooper’s hawk, pileated woodpecker—until sunrise reddens the western ridge.
The valleys must be brimming over with fog. Clouds rise behind both ridges, but it’s blue overhead: a white-bread sandwich filled with sky.
Due to the drought, the goldenrod display is subdued this year—but birch are turning three weeks early. September will have its yellow.