Snow flurries. A raven croaks, and I scan the sky for it without success, spotting instead an old bird’s nest at the top of a walnut tree.
A gray squirrel runs along the gray road bearing a freshly dug-up walnut. High in the blue, a jet’s contrail is short enough to be a tail.
Light snow powdering my black sleeves. I watch a nuthatch inspect each branch of a walnut, its sideways hop and dip when it finds a morsel.
Now that I can see the quaking aspens, through bare walnut branches, I can hear them too: their constant whisper. Gauzy rain. A train horn.
Somewhere nearby, the bugling of geese. A red-breasted nuthatch goes up and down each branch of a small walnut. Mosquito: a blur on my nose.
Off to the northeast, a thin band of clear sky for the dawn to tint. A squirrel drops a walnut from the treetops. The catbird starts to mew.
Shirt-sleeve weather. A squirrel unearths a walnut from the yard in that casual way squirrels have of pretending it’s doing something else.
Steady sleet. A squirrel bores into the frozen earth to retrieve a black walnut, then schleps the battered, lumpy thing into the treetops.
In the stillness, the rasp of squirrel teeth. Then the hollow thonk, thonk of a dropped walnut hitting the limbs of an oak on its way down.
A great silence punctuated only by an occasional gun shot. A squirrel digs up a black walnut from beside the porch and bounds off with it.