Dense fog and silence—the instant wilderness found inside a cloud. A leaf falls 100 feet away and I hear the soft rustle when it lands.
Muddy footprints cross the porch and stop in front of my chair. Their probable owner crouches nearby in the rain like an evicted squatter.
Warm and wet—almost a March day, were it not for that rustle the rain makes on leaves, still crisp and curled in the first blush of death.
Mid-morning, and my feet are propped on the rail as usual. A female downy woodpecker lands on my right boot and taps at the worn-down sole.
A grown fawn nuzzles her mother’s flank as if to nurse. The mother whirls around, head lowered, threatening with invisible antlers.
Cold and gray—November weather at last. Oak leaves twirl and somersault past the porch, accompanied by a few motes of snow.
A crow flies off cawing and returns silently to the same tree. In the garden, comfrey leaves have begun turning face-down into the earth.
Another cloudless morning. Sunlight glints on abandoned spider and caterpillar silk in every tree and between them—a threadbare garment.
At 5:15, I’m startled by the dark sky, the closeness of the stars. At daybreak, seven deer stand within a stone’s throw of the porch.
Late morning, I take a break from crisis management to watch a hungry groundhog, his pelt shining brown and orange and silver in the sun.
A Carolina wren breaks the silence, bobbing up and down on the peak of the springhouse roof: one side frosty, the other steaming in the sun.
A hard frost softens the edges of leaves and blades of grass. The witch hazel blossoms beside the house have curled into woolly fists.
While oak leaves spiral into the yard, six vultures tilt and pivot high above, searching for an updraft, then turn and drift on south.
Last week’s snow has shrunk to a scattering of patches the size of dinner plates. Crows yell back and forth above the din from the highway.