Every morning more yellow in the woods. What’s happening while we sleep? An unseen full moon. Migrant thrushes descending through the clouds at dawn.
Clear and cold, with sound out of the east: the rumble and squeal of a slow freight train. Jays jeer. A wren puts the kettle on.
An hour past sunrise and the sky is brightening. A red-bellied woodpecker makes anxious chirps, prompting a flicker to respond. A tree drops a dead limb into last year’s leaves.
Rain: on the roofs drumming, in the meadow a whisper and in the forest a quiet roar. It lasts for hours. The cold creeps under my coat.
A few minutes before sunrise, a crack followed by a crash from just inside the woods. I delude myself that I can detect the type of tree: sounds like a red maple, I’d say. So unlike the way they come into the world—miniature claws already red with autumn.
Cold wind and rain, belied by all the cheerful yellow starting to move from the goldenrod up into the trees at the woods’ edge.
Overcast and still, with a low rumble of traffic from the east. In the half-light, a deer’s ear pivots among the goldenrod.
Cool but not quite as clear, with a thin, high scrim of clouds and the incessant beeping of quarry trucks, to which a migrant phoebe briefly responds.
Dawn: the red thread of a contrail fraying as it fades. Fog rises from the goldenrod, erasing the faint dot that must’ve been Mercury.
Clearing enough by 8:00 for the sun to nest in the treetops. Highway noise subsides, giving way to the knocks and clatter of falling walnuts and acorns, the scold-calls of chipmunks, the jeers of jays.
Another cool and quiet autumn morning. The snakeroot has faded to a blowsy brown just as the goldenrod reaches its pinnacle of yellow.
Half an hour past sunrise, the top of the tall tulip poplar turns gold. But I notice that yellow leaves continue down the tree. One sails out into the goldenrod.
Gray sky ten minutes after a flaming sunrise. A phoebe calls for old times’ sake. Quarry trucks rumble through the gap.
43F/6C an hour after sunrise. Not a cloud in the sky. Black walnuts crash down at random intervals.