Heard but not seen: a hummingbird skirmish. The mist thickens to drizzle, and right on cue a yellow-billed cuckoo—so-called rain crow—calls.
Both bluebirds land on top of the stump, look at me, and warble aggressively. In the lily-of-the-valley bed, the bells are fading to brown.
Overcast and cool. A chickadee lands on a dead rose bush and sings his minor-key song with a caterpillar dangling from his beak.
I’d thought the bluebirds’ nest in the stump next to the porch had failed, but no: they just wait till I’m gone to go in. I am their troll.
It’s cold. Leaves blow backwards in the wind. But squirrels must be coming back into heat: four of them spiral down a locust at top speed.
A box turtle plods across the yard, the markings on its shell as bright as fresh graffiti. A bluebird scratches behind his ear like a dog.
The bluebirds perch side by side on a branch, facing the dead cherry and their hidden, ravenous brood. A fat groundhog runs across the yard.
A half-hour after sunrise, the flickers arrive at the elm from different directions, copulate twice, and go back to work on the nest hole.
The hole in the dead elm is emitting puffs of dust: a flicker cleans house. Just beyond: scarlet tanager! Then the cardinal’s humdrum red.
The old crabapple next to the springhouse is in full bloom, a mass of shocking pink abuzz with insects. The sharp snap of a phoebe’s beak.
Above the almost-blooming lilac, a hummingbird is doing his courtship display, rocketing back and forth like the pendulum of a crazed clock.
Disconcerting to wake and find the woods twice as green, and new birds calling. I remember dreaming of a bicycle with spokes that sang.
A hollow oak dead for 30 years has finally collapsed, its fragments piled next to the stump like abandoned clothes. The first few raindrops.
The black currants are in full leaf, squat from their winter’s pruning by the deer. Down-hollow, a hen turkey yelping, a tom gobbling back.