Dark clouds moving in from the west; this sun won’t last long. A breeze carries the sweet, pungent smell of ozone mingled with decay.
Two tulip poplar leaves vibrate in a private wind: chickadees. The western ridge turns from blood-red to orange to yellow—autumn in reverse.
A few oaks are turning brown behind the birches’ washed-out yellow. High on a bare limb, a squirrel nest the exact shape of a porcupine.
A raven flies over the house, croaking. I keep wiping droplets of mist off the glossy pages of the book I’m reading about the holocaust.
Rain again. This is the dreariest, drabbest autumn I’ve ever seen—except for the moss and tree-bark lichens, which have never been brighter.
Cold and gray. A deer snorts again and again over at the neighbors’—bear? Bobcat? Coyote? In the other direction, a sparrow hawk zips past.
Patches of white in the yard—the first frost. So late! But then the oaks are still green, the sky still constrained by leaves.
Cold wind. A white-throated sparrow sings its plaintive, quavering song and falls silent. I sit in the reek of dogshit from my boot.
A swarm of maple helicopters. I sneeze and a wren begins to sing. A kinglet rotates in time to the music. We’re in this dance together.
Since 10:00 o’clock, the clouds that left have not been replaced. I find myself paying close attention to the nasal calls of chickadees.
Cold wind salted with the first few snowflakes—that seasonal seasoning. Behind the ridgetop trees, a hint of blue sky.
Now that I can see the quaking aspens, through bare walnut branches, I can hear them too: their constant whisper. Gauzy rain. A train horn.
The silence of a power outage gives way to the rumble of a generator. High overhead, the resident pair of ravens croak back and forth.
Clear and cold. Over the wind, the rustle of a squirrel bounding through waves of dead grass, and the high, thin calls of a lone waxwing.