An explosive snort of a deer that I hadn’t noticed standing in the dim light at the edge of the woods, her ears swiveling toward the east.
Tiny holes riddle the leaves of a heal-all plant, turning it to orange-tinged lace. What small creature requires so much medicine?
The lowering sky lightens a little when the rain finally starts. Yellow leaves flutter down from the walnut tree like exhausted moths.
Cloud-to-cloud lightning, thunder like a cloth being torn. Downpour. We’ll remember 2011 for years: “That was the autumn of the mosquitoes.”
Overcast. The softly glowing reds and yellows, the hum of crickets, even the normally annoying call of a towhee all inspire nostalgia.
A mosquito’s thin song in my ear. I wave her away, then watch as she and another tangle, part, and settle upside-down on the white ceiling.
Rusty things: the wail of a cat in heat, a squirrel’s slow scold, the cry of a jay, and the black cherry leaves fading to a coppery red.
At the woods’ edge, the yellowest birch seethes with small birds—kinglets, I think. But by the time I fetch binoculars, the tree is still.
A series of high-pitched snorts from a deer up on the ridge. Coyote? Bear? Or—imagine the horror for an herbivore—an attack of hay fever?
A low cloud ceiling imposes gloom and silence, save for the closest chirps. A nuthatch, normally querulous, sounds downright neurotic.
The walnut trees are already losing their leaves, turning into grotesquely well-hung skeletons a-tremble with squirrels.
A meadow vole takes an after-death journey into the forest in the jaws of a cat, who holds her head high for once and does not slink.
A morning so clear, the half moon looks close enough to touch. A squirrel still spooked by some long-gone predator has yelled itself hoarse.
The guys arrive promptly at 8:00 o’clock to put a new roof on the porch. We stand around talking for 20 minutes about lead-core bullets.