One gusty day, and the forest is full of new sounds: here a squeak, there a moan, like an orchestra of broken instruments tuning up.
Through a new hole in the forest, the sun imparts a half-minute nimbus to a tree trunk on the crest of the ridge. Clouds race by.
Just as the sun strikes my face, in the corner of my eye a hawk sweeps into the woods. She ghosts past, flared tail orange among the leaves.
The black locusts are beginning to yellow as the black birches beside them deepen to orange, alive with kinglets and glowing in the rain.
I stroll down into the yard to examine grass blades outlined by the first, patchy frost, accompanied by my coffee’s pillar of steam.
Two titmice tumble off a branch, claws briefly locked, provoking rebukes from a chorus of chickadees. A breeze fails to disperse the fog.
Almost Cartesian, this grid of clouds: contrails at varying stages of decay. From up in the woods, wingbeats of some large bird.
The birches are astir with birds: migrant warblers, chickadees, and a kinglet darting from leaf to leaf, gold crown flashing among the gold.
Chipmunks cluck—a hillside of leaky faucets. Over by the powerline, a crow is venting what sounds like frustration: a hollow ach ach ach.
Cold as it is, the birds seem to avoid the sun. In one shadow, a wren putt-putts. In another, a song sparrow shakes water from his wings.
A black-throated blue warbler alights in the dead cherry. I follow it to the spicebush, where yellow-throated vireos sing bright red notes.
Sparrows and finches chitter in the half-light. A song sparrow sings beside the springhouse, a sound I haven’t heard here in over a year.
A crow mob: enmity in unison sounding so different from a flock of grackles, where each bird is simply saying “here.” It begins to rain.
Steady rain drumming, dripping, stripping leaves from the understory gums, orange and red careening down in the otherwise still-green woods.