The flat white sky prompts me to notice that the white snakeroot—a plant that clouds up the meadow, being toxic to deer—has gone to seed.
Off to the northeast, a thin band of clear sky for the dawn to tint. A squirrel drops a walnut from the treetops. The catbird starts to mew.
White sky, bleary sun. Cold air, hot coffee. That equinoctial balance. Crickets trill, chipmunks tick, aspen leaves flip back and forth.
Overcast and still, with the smell of rain. A migrant red-breasted nuthatch dives at my head and lands between the spandrels to scold.
The laboring motor in the septic service truck, pumping out our tanks—I try to hear anything else. The Carolina wren. An electric drill.
Like hair on a head the way the stiltgrass falls about in orderly whorls. A raven flies over, hoarse cries out of sync with its wingbeats.
The sun comes out. A green shield bug flies in and lands on a porch column like a freelance leaf. I’m reminded to check when the equinox is.
Rain from a named storm seems special, like strands of hair from someone famous. Two spring peepers are calling, and faintly, the phoebe.
Sun! The meadow glows goldenrod-yellow. Birch leaves at the woods’ edge tremble with warblers. A mosquito sings her thirsty note in my ear.
It’s been 20 years since the butternut tree fell over, but I still miss it: the sky too big, too blank, the nuthatch’s call too far away.