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.
As the rising sun glimmers through the trees, birch and walnut leaves begin to fall, the first hard frost glittering on the ground.
Rainy and cold. White-throated sparrows call in different keys, each more plaintive than the last. The birches are fluttery with kinglets.
Cold and clear. A sharp-shinned hawk skulking near the ground darts into a barberry bush to await whatever feathered breakfast may come.
The tock-tock-tock of a chipmunk up in the woods, relentless as a metronome. A red-tailed hawk lands in an oak and has a slow look around.
Mizzle: the wet feet of a cloud that slowly settles over the glowing trees, the lone, anxious jay, the clarinet voices of wild geese.
Rain. A red-eyed vireo is calling. My brother the birder tells me that at daybreak there were seven species of sparrows on the garden fence.