Sunlight filtered through thin clouds—it’s almost spring-like, apart from the yellow leaves, the goldenrod, a white-throated sparrow’s song.
From up behind my parents’ house, some vaguely melodic notes: a blue jay? Or my father whistling as he hangs out the laundry?
With the walnut leaves down, I can once again see the line of aspens: still green, still full of ambiguous gestures. (Hello? Get lost?)
A cranefly drifts through the yard so slowly, I wonder if it’s asleep. A lilac limb wobbles with warblers—don’t ask me what kind.
An agitated Carolina wren progresses from between-station radio static noises to musical chirps, then silence. A freight train wails.
Four bluebirds take turns checking out the empty flicker hole in the dead elm—a winter nest site, maybe? A raven flies past, croaking.
I’m looking at a walnut when it lets go and thuds to the ground—the branch rocks like a diving board. A vireo calls softly from the woods.
The trees at the edge of the woods are now an almost even mix of green and yellow leaves—until the sun comes out and turns them all to gold.
My mother emerges from the weeds beside the springhouse with a handful of mint. Behind her at the woods’ edge, a red-tailed hawk takes wing.
The walnut tree behind the house keeps knocking on my bedroom roof with its fat green fists. I start thinking fondly of the chainsaw.
Two flocks of local geese flying in tandem, one following each ridge, skimming the treetops: their raucous cries come from all directions.
A dozen vultures fresh from their communal roost circle low overhead, wings shining white whenever they tilt toward the sun—angels of death.
1:15 a.m. Thinking there’s something chewing on the leaves outside my window, I get the flashlight and discover rain. Time for bed.
Three butterfly milkweed pods have split open, and dangle clouds of down. From the neighbors’, the howl and mutter of a weed whacker.