At the woods’ edge, the yellowest birch seethes with small birds—kinglets, I think. But by the time I fetch binoculars, the tree is still.
Only when the begging cries of the crow fledglings finally cease do I notice the air’s clarity, golden light glistening on a black birch.
Kinglets move through the birches. I think of their statelets: hidden expandable nests, clutch that weighs as much as the bird that laid it.
Before dawn, nothing but wind and trains. In the crown of a birch, Venus burns so fiercely, even the fast-moving clouds can’t extinguish it.
High winds stir the trees like surf, a dead branch crashes every few minutes, but the small birds still forage, twittering in the birches.
When the fog lifts, a flock of chickadees moves in, foraging in the mid-canopy, precipitating a shower of birch and locust leaves.
The black locusts are beginning to yellow as the black birches beside them deepen to orange, alive with kinglets and glowing in the rain.
The birches are astir with birds: migrant warblers, chickadees, and a kinglet darting from leaf to leaf, gold crown flashing among the gold.
Due to the drought, the goldenrod display is subdued this year—but birch are turning three weeks early. September will have its yellow.
Steady rain. A phoebe snatches insects from the undersides of birch leaves, and in the distant drone of an airplane I hear news of the sun.
A broken-off locust limb held at a 45-degree angle by the black birches’ intricate crowns is thick enough to still wear a coat of snow.
Last night the air was warm, but the stars gleamed like steel. This morning it’s overcast and cold. New splashes of yellow in the birches.
The wind is out of the east, bringing routine news of violence to the pitted earth. A bare birch at the woods’ edge fills up with finches.
Yakety-yak on the porch, dee dee dee in the birches, and everywhere a drip drip drip drip drip: gray solstice morning.