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.
Chickadees twittering back and forth in the birches. In the snow beside my chair, the small, intricately clawed tracks of a chipmunk.
Outlined against the sky, the birch with its finches like leaves animated by separate winds. A downy woodpecker rattles in the cherry snag.
Goldfinches repopulate a leafless birch and sit eating seeds. From the east, the sound of the quarry’s crusher, its breakfast of stones.
Snowflakes backlit by the sun. Unlike rain they don’t just fall; they fly. A strip of bark is draped over a birch twig like a spare tie.
After last night’s storm, all the birches and maples at the woods’ edge have lost their bright leaves, the oaks beyond still a sombre green.
The yellow is moving up from the goldenrod to the birches, tulip trees and elms. A red-bellied woodpecker’s shrill calls end in a trill.