Dave Bonta

The wind no longer howls, but now the merest breeze provokes a chorus of moans and shrieks. The oaks are finally almost all naked.

Sometime in the night the rain stopped, the temperature edged above freezing, and all the new armor fell from the trees. Snow in the air.

Quiet except for the distant moan of a truck’s brakes and the staticky sound of sleet, giving way to a heavier ordnance of freezing rain.

Scarlet oak leaf: blown sideways, it still manages to get a few spirals in. Bluejay: it takes me a second to recognize its solitary note.

Rising late, I get a faceful of sun. I watch the resident naturalist’s blaze-orange vest and cap appearing and disappearing among the trees.

“Crepuscular”: such a weird word, conjuring up ancient forests, twisted mossy forms. Not this dawn, filled with the noise of trucks.

Shifting patterns of gray in a sky that has just stopped raining. A crow caws seven times. Suddenly everything acquires an orange tint.

—Every season is deer season; this is the opening day of rifle season. —Where are the rifles, then? —Zipped up in their cases, staying dry.