Waiting for rain, everything sounds like an augury—catbird, chipmunk, great-crested flycatcher—and just before the first drops, that hush.
The dame’s-rocket is at its height; my overgrown front yard is the equal of any garden. The catbird seems to concur.
The catbirds are much more furtive now going into the barberry that hides their nest. Two cuckoos call up a bit of rain.
A mid-morning pause in the rain. The towhee attacks a catbird gathering dead grass under the lilac, driving it off, then sings in triumph.
Goldfinches, scarlet tanager, great-crested flycatcher, catbird, towhee… no composer, no conductor. All music needs is a listener.
Light rain. The catbird lands on a branch with nesting material in his beak, which all falls out when he goes to sing.
Crystal clear. A blue-headed vireo ventures into the yard and the catbird immediately interrupts, taking his song and turning it inside-out.
Hazy sun. The first catbird pops out of a barberry bush, improvising wildly. An ant traverses my collar.
Cloudy and damp. The catbird is touring his latest improvisations all around the yard. I’m hearing strong towhee and wren influences.
Silver-spotted skippers chase over dame’s-rocket. A catbird balancing on a dead weed stalk plucks a green bug from a blade of grass.
Cold rain getting harder. The Carolina wren’s “tea kettle” call never seemed more appropriate. The catbird lisps and buzzes like a warbler.
Rain. A gray catbird on the gray road pecking at things that are not gray. In the trees above, a blue-headed vireo sings possession.
Two catbirds are carrying dead grass into a barberry bush. A grackle emerges from a hole in the yard with his yellow thief’s eye.
Out too late to hear the wood thrush, I’m stuck with a catbird’s Muzak version. The bridal wreath’s skinny bloom-fingers shake in the wind.