Clear and cold. A sound like a cat mewing, then a creaking door: just a jay. The sun pierces the thinning forest with one gimlet beam.
Five minutes after I check the weather app to verify it’s going to stay cloudy, the sun comes out. The damp forest glistens like a salamander.
Pouring rain—that thunderous arrhythmic percussion on the roof. The muted red and gold of the oaks give the forest a faint glow.
With so many other trees bare now, the tulip poplars have come into their glory: under a dark sky, columns of softly rustling gold.
The green alien at the center of my view—the sprawling old lilac—has at last begun to yellow. The wingbeats of a crow break the silence.
Rainy and cold. The distant firing of a semi-automatic rifle, muffled by valley fog, sounds like nothing so much as a crepitating fart.
Cold and gray. A downy woodpecker forages in the road, joined by a nuthatch, seemingly curious about this stony alternative to a tree trunk.
Overcast and chilly, with enough of a breeze to make the salmon-colored cherry leaves shiver against an increasingly gray backdrop of woods.
A sharp-shinned hawk chases a crow; the crow flies off. The hawk chases a jay; the jay chases back. What fun! thinks the jay. I’m hungry! thinks the hawk.
Clear and still. The sun clearing the ridgetop blazes through a new hole in the wall of leaves, lighting up a column of pogoing gnats.
Out at first light. Venus is visible through the thin fog, slowly fading until I lose it in the already-bare branches of a walnut tree.
Under a low cloud ceiling, the thunder of trains and traffic from the valley. The black cat’s deadly silence trips a gray-squirrel alarm.
Overcast and still. Ravens up in the woods sound as if they’ve discovered a gut pile, red and yellow viscera glistening among fallen leaves.
A squirrel on the porch spots a squirrel in the yard, who freezes. S/he walks slowly under my propped-up legs and down to a silent meeting.