Blue jays yelling in the treetops. Wind speed is less than three knots, but still there’s a steady shower of yellow walnut leaves.
Cold and clear. A whitish gnat zigzags toward the woods, following a sunbeam, like an anadromous fish ascending its native creek.
Around the side of the house, a male goldfinch gorges on spicebush berries—silent for once, as if unwilling to share his find.
Cool and clear except for a few scraps of cloud and a pair of ravens high overhead, their hollow, metallic croaks like steampunk crows.
A pileated woodpecker comes cackling into the dead elm, then quietly gets to work: hop down the trunk a few inches, listen for ants, repeat.
A squirrel hangs by its hind feet to pick a pair of walnuts, drops one, climbs off with the other in its teeth. The day darkens into rain.
A small brown butterfly flutters low over the porch floor, checking out the three brown walnut leaflets, one of which trembles in its wake.
A murky sunrise. Gnatcatchers high in the tulip tree dart and hover, tiny silhouettes against a cross-hatch of stratus clouds.
Sound is out of the east. And even first thing in the morning, the machines at the quarry sound tired. They bellow. They groan. They keen.
Sunbeams through the fog. The thin bull thistle beside the road with its one purple head sways ever so slightly into and out of the light.
Tent caterpillar webs billow, white as sails—still full of the dawn fog. Two nuthatches kvetch back and forth at the woods’ edge.
9:40. The strange, pipe organ-like moan of a steam locomotive blowing the Plummer’s Hollow crossing raises the hair on the back of my neck.
I get up to pick the ripe berries on the spicebush in my garden. Allspice aroma wafts up from the red drupes as I pinch them off the twigs.
A hawk circles over the ridge, higher and higher, until it appears smaller and fainter than the white blood cells criss-crossing my retina.