Below the porch, a dot of pink: a very late dame’s-rocket blooming the day after a hard frost. A brown creeper inspects a small walnut tree.
Now that summer’s past, the cardinal has gone back to harassing her reflection. The frost-whitened myrtle bed. A barberry turned to flame.
Halfway up the dead cherry beside the porch, a gray squirrel stops and stares, and I recall reading that squirrels are omnivorous as rats.
Sun blazes through a newly open woods, glossy on the backs of wild turkeys: nine hens and two jakes, who keep pausing to fan their tails.
An hour before dawn, a high thin cloud drifts northeast to the rumble of a freight train. When the half-moon intersects, a rainbow disc.
When the fog lifts, a flock of chickadees moves in, foraging in the mid-canopy, precipitating a shower of birch and locust leaves.
Just past daybreak, a pileated woodpecker whinnies, a nuthatch tuts, a crow croaks, and a gray squirrel clatters through gray branches.
All along the ridgetop now the sky is visible, cathedral-sized windows between the trees. The throaty roar of the neighbor’s pickup truck.
Mid-morning: the first patch of blue, little larger than a moon. In the old lilac below the other house, a Carolina wren bursts into song.
Halfway to the ground, a locust leaf reverses course and heads for the sky. The cattails whisper, a restive crowd, but the sun never comes.
Windy and clearing. Amidst all the twirlers and spiralers, one tulip poplar leaf plummets straight to the ground, folded like an umbrella.
I pick the last few unsplit witch hazel nuts in my garden, hoping I can witness their famed explosions. I line them up on top of my monitor.
When the fog lifts, the sun makes its nest in the treetops. I sit with a newspaper folded on my knee, listening to a chipmunk’s metronome.
Widely scattered drops of rain—a rustle twice as loud as it would’ve been a month ago. Blue jays yell back and forth about some new find.