The soft, liquid song of a robin. A snail trail glistens at the edge of the step. The neighborhood God-botherer warbles far off-key.
I carry a dry chair into the drenched garden. Elderberries dot the ground and raindrops dot the elder. A sudden shuffle of woodpigeon wings.
Breezy and cool. A gray down feather floats up and settles on a leaf of the elder tree. A blackbird’s orange beak peeks around the trunk.
Raindrops dangle from the clothesline like diminutive socks. A sudden shower under the mock orange as two gray squirrels race through it.
Cloudy and cool. The garden is full of the silence of a cat stealing across the shed’s corrugated roof. At last, a blue tit chatters alarm.
Slow clouds; bright sun. The distant chirping of a car alarm reminds me how much I miss the sounds of crickets and katydids.
A robin is on a slow inspection tour of the ground. In the next garden, a woman talks to a recorded voice about her income tax.
A squirrel dangles upside-down beside the bird feeder and lifts the tube to its snout. A wood pigeon flaps in for the spilled millet.
English in the next yard, Portuguese beyond—languages given away by cadence and intonation alone, just as we recognize sparrow or wren.
A coal tit lands at the feeder and I do a double-take—so much like a chickadee! Then in the next garden, a gray squirrel’s querulous alarm.