After hours of rain, woods and meadow are shrink-wrapped in ice. The black birch twigs creak as chickadees land to liberate a few seeds.
Rain. A black birch at the woods’ edge may regret its timing, shaggy orange catkins making it look like the most Victorian of lampshades.
A slit in the gray clouds widening to reveal the sun, like a sudden eye. Goldfinches feasting in the crown of a birch become silhouettes.
With birches and maples at the woods’ edge all bare, I can see unimpeded up the hillside to small clouds lost among the trees and the rain.
A few oaks are turning brown behind the birches’ washed-out yellow. High on a bare limb, a squirrel nest the exact shape of a porcupine.
Mid-morning, and the trees still glisten from the dawn fog. A breeze sends hundreds of birch leaves swirling out into the meadow.
Sun! The meadow glows goldenrod-yellow. Birch leaves at the woods’ edge tremble with warblers. A mosquito sings her thirsty note in my ear.
Gold on gold: a kinglet’s crest among the birch leaves. Rust on rust: a chipmunk’s fur among rain-flattened tangles of stiltgrass.
The black birch catkins are even longer and yellower than yesterday, shining in the rain. The shadbush have traded blossoms for pale leaves.
A red-tailed hawk flies just inside the woods’ edge, past the birches with their catkins and the rambling old lilac just coming into bloom.