With crows about, a raven skulks through the pines, talking with its mate in sotto voce rattles. They fly over the porch with labored wingbeats.

Yet another clear, still morning. The light-drenched forest of almost-winter. Outraged crows answering the raven’s chant with their own.

The green alien at the center of my view—the sprawling old lilac—has at last begun to yellow. The wingbeats of a crow break the silence.