Half moon high overhead at 5:00, half-illuminating the ground fog and darkening the shadows into which walnuts thud down.
A moon gone slightly flat hangs in the big walnut trees over my mother’s house, which periodically release their ordnance onto the roof with a bang.
Clearing enough by 8:00 for the sun to nest in the treetops. Highway noise subsides, giving way to the knocks and clatter of falling walnuts and acorns, the scold-calls of chipmunks, the jeers of jays.
43F/6C an hour after sunrise. Not a cloud in the sky. Black walnuts crash down at random intervals.
Crystal-clear and cold: autumn’s first visit. A breeze sorting through the walnut leaves, a few of which are already yellow.
A still morning. A half-grown walnut lets go of its branch while I’m looking at it, prompting an odd feeling of guilt.
The bluest sky I’ve seen in weeks. A hooded warbler calls at intervals. A black walnut lands on the road with a surprisingly loud thud.
The light is still murky and cool at mid-morning as lulls in the avian chorus lengthen. The breeze riffling through walnut leaves. A cowbird’s liquid note.
Cold and clear. An Acadian flycatcher gleans breakfast from the undersides of leaves, among the green dreadlocks of a blossoming walnut.
An American redstart calling from the top of the nearest walnut sounds so insistent, but about what? I’m here! This is my tree! Or maybe just: Good morning!
Gray and still. Springs gurgle their liturgies. Looking nervously all about, a squirrel disinters a walnut and races into the woods with it.
Clear and cold. All the while the sunrise seeps down from the treetops, a squirrel files away at a rock-hard black walnut shell to extract meat seasoned by months underground.
Clouds beginning to clear by 8:00. A gray squirrel with a black walnut between her teeth is followed by three others through the treetops.
The squirrel who de-husks walnuts atop the wall next to the lilac stops short when she sees that her piles have been swept away. She noses the spots, tail flickering above her like a gray flame.