The random yet purposeful flight of a great-spangled fritillary. The wind dies and a piece of thistle down descends straight into the yard.
Now that thistles are going to seed, the goldfinches are nesting at last. Two males chase—streaks of crayon-yellow through the treetops.
Sunbeams through the fog. The thin bull thistle beside the road with its one purple head sways ever so slightly into and out of the light.
A male and female goldfinch glean seeds from a tall bull thistle. She eats in silence while he in his loud yellow suit chatters on and on.
Scattered bird calls—cardinal, vireo, field sparrow—all sound perfunctory except for the goldfinches, who are in thistle heaven at last.
Cold, gray morning. I inventory the remaining spots of green: moss, grass, mountain laurel, pine, a rosette of thistle outlined in frost.