Rising late to find the sun already in the trees and the air redolent of autumn. Silhouettes of birds pass as quietly as thoughts through the canopy.
My first day on earth without a father. It takes me ten minutes to notice the sky—cloudless blue. The laboring engine of a distant plane.
A walnut falls from a maple tree. Squirrel as surrealist. The mid-morning fog beginning to glow.
Overcast and cool. Birds only call at intervals now. Crickets’ chirps are as small and repetitive as the blossoms on the white heath aster.
Cedar waxwings crowd into the tops of the tall locusts, harried by goldfinches. High above, two swifts arc and swoop against the blue.
Sun shimmers in the treetops while rain still drips from the roof. A squirrel climbs a walnut tree carrying a walnut, as if in some proverb.
Two crickets are having a singing contest among the stiltgrass, which is now quite red and swept back in one direction as if with a comb.
A bold squirrel crosses the porch, going right under my chair. Below the top railing, an upside-down fly spins madly in a net of silk.
Whatever the male wren says, his mate always gives the same reply. He sings into the chimney like a child dropping pennies into a dry well.
A cranefly drifts through the yard so slowly, I wonder if it’s asleep. A lilac limb wobbles with warblers—don’t ask me what kind.
Cloud-to-cloud lightning, thunder like a cloth being torn. Downpour. We’ll remember 2011 for years: “That was the autumn of the mosquitoes.”
The downpour eases, and the cattail leaves stop dancing. A burst of bird calls from within the dogwood thicket: waxwings, towhees.
Two gray squirrels in their fall colors—snouts and bellies stained brown from walnut hulls—dash past each other on the rain-slick trunk.
First one, then a second Carolina wren pops out from under the eaves, perches in the fretwork for a second, and flies off into the fog.