I hear something chewing in the tall weeds. Behind the lilac, a hummingbird bent on courtship opens the throttle on its small engine.
It’s cold—in the mid-50s. One catbird sits at the end of a dead limb overlooking the yard while her mate chases a rival, all in silence.
Wood thrush, cerulean warbler, red-eyed vireo, Baltimore oriole—song by song I tick them off as yellow petals fall from the tulip tree.
Dead bracken leaf: a sun-bleached carcass. A feral cat pads down the road undetected by squirrels, its sodden gray coat the color of gravel.
Back and forth over the yard still in shadow, a cicada killer steers the bright craft of her body, illuminated by the sun.
Sticky and warm. A clink of ice in my coffee startles up a deer, her tan coat passing in front of a cloud of blossoming mountain laurel.
Evening primroses in the mid-morning heat: so yellow! As the sun climbs, the stigmas slowly retract their claw-shaped shadows.
The dawn sky turns salmon. Down by the stream, the hollow cough of a deer. A swig of coffee and I’m off to count birds before the rain.
A tiger swallowtail butterfly glows in the strong sun like stained glass. In the shade, a freshly bathed phoebe straightens its feathers.
Overcast and cool. A cerulean warbler sounds excited as always—that rising buzz. The bright orange of a robber fly crossing the yard.
The robin hops down the road at his usual speed despite the cold. Five minutes later he flies out of the woods with a bright green morsel.
Against the sky criss-crossed by contrails, the sudden whiskers of a squirrel peering over the roof’s edge, fixing me in a bug-eyed stare.
Dawn finds the walking onions still as trolls, except for a slight swaying—no doubt the wind. A mosquito bite swells between my knuckles.
The tulip tree’s in bloom. I peer through binoculars at the enormous yellow cups dripping with nectar, lotuses of the upper air.