Two wood satyr butterflies careen through the yard, the dark pages of their wings marked with yellow Os. A blue dragonfly circles the house.
The female chickadee perches motionless in the mouth of the den. The male gives her an inchworm and she sits holding it for half a minute.
It’s hot. A firefly lands on the shady side of the white railing, antennae moving rapidly as if assessing a new, poor substitute for night.
The hollow tock of a chipmunk calling from within the rock wall. A chickadee perched atop the stump opens his wings wide to shake off rain.
Three deer graze in the meadow, ears and tails flapping to keep off the flies. From the valley, a steam locomotive’s lonesome wail.
The Baltimore oriole flies from treetop to treetop, laying claim to the yard. A lone chimney swift cuts arabesques in the cobalt blue sky.
Two Carolina wren fledglings in the cedar—small balls of fluff. A cerulean warbler flies in to peer at me, the cause of so much scolding.
Swarms of spinning maple keys fly this way and that. An indigo bunting bobs up and down in the lilac, swiping his bill against the branch.
Rain in the wee hours has left the lilac with leaves bent over, showing their pale backs. Above, the white missiles of black cherry blooms.
Warm and humid. A hornet inspecting the porch on foot pauses in front of my sandals, waving her antennae like Geiger counter wands.
The chickadees take turns carrying insects into their hole, bold, ignoring my presence a few feet away. From the hidden chicks, nary a peep.
A Juvenal’s duskywing butterfly comes dancing out of the woods like a small brown leaf. Zigzag ripple in the grass where a chipmunk forages.
Each bird I see has something in its beak: wren—a streamer of dried grass, chickadee—a seed, towhee—a bundle of stalks, grackle—a millipede.
The new black cherry leaves, unmarred by any insect, are showing their pale backs to the sky, like hatchling fish unsure of how to swim.