Plummer’s Hollow

The far side of the driveway is dusted in white—snakeroot coming into bloom. The poison that killed Lincoln’s mother, distilled in milk.

A still morning. Dew drips from the top roof onto the porch roof. Each birdcall—woodpecker, towhee, jay—is surrounded by acres of silence.

The lowest limb of the tulip poplar trembles as a four-point buck briefly fences with the leaves. The minor-key wail of a distant train.

The woods’ edge is at the base of a hill; all I see of the doe foraging under the trees are delicate legs and the spinning flag of her tail.

Up at 4:45 to watch the meteor shower, I carry a folding chair out onto the driveway and look up: nothing. Clouds. A raindrop hits my face.

The crown of a black walnut tree at the edge of the woods is already spotted with yellow. When a wind comes up, it scatters left-over rain.

6:30 a.m. and the woods are virtually devoid of birdsong. It takes me half an hour to notice the crickets in the grass, that steady ringing.

Clear sky, but the sun in the treetops is a little wan, as if filtered through a dirty window. Traffic sounds carry from over the ridge.

My brother’s new car sits in the weeds, sleek and white, like an emissary from another world come to repatriate the plastic stack chairs.