The gibbous moon no sooner clears the trees than the sun comes up. First crystal-clear morning in weeks, and I’m off to New Jersey.

Birdcall like the chant of some demented sports fan: the yellow-billed cuckoo is back! The forest canopy must be full enough to skulk in.

Cold and clearing. The black cat pads up the driveway, coyote bait still in her belly and the usual hungry, hateful look in her yellow eyes.