Overcast and still, with a low rumble of traffic from the east. In the half-light, a deer’s ear pivots among the goldenrod.
Dawn: the red thread of a contrail fraying as it fades. Fog rises from the goldenrod, erasing the faint dot that must’ve been Mercury.
Half an hour before sunrise, the goldenrod is already aglow. Venus and Jupiter fade into a cloudless sky. Towhees begin to tweet.
Just at the point where the half-moon loses its share of the shadows, a migrant thrush calls from the woods’ edge: a few soft notes, then silence. The sky turns pink.
The last stars gutter in the dawn light. Down-hollow, a juvenile whippoorwill practices its song—only half there.
Crystal-clear and still. At first light, the soft calls of wood thrushes, no doubt tired and hungry after their all-night flights. Pale crowds of snakeroot seem to glow.
A few minutes after six, a whippoorwill calls from just inside the woods. At the very same moment, the first mosquito of the day finds my ear.
Cold at dawn, with the lightest of breezes bringing sounds from the east—mostly the limestone quarry’s dull roar. A screech owl trills. The clouds go pink.
Another autumnal dawn. A screech owl trills from just inside the woods. Crows head past en route to an angry mob. The fluting of geese.
Before the first birds, a thin, gaping moon. A last katydid stopping mid-creak. The whine of tires on the highway over the ridge.
A mosquito sings her dark need into my ear. Day advances like a slow machine of squeaking towhees and whirring wrens.
Clear and cool. A migrant wood thrush calls softly at first light. It’s very still. Then the wrens wake up.
Foggy at dawn for the wood thrush’s solo. The wild garlics are beginning to raise their egret heads.
Cold and clear 40 minutes before sunrise. A shadow flutters in beside the porch and begins to shriek: whippoorwill. When he finally stops, the meadow is alive with twittering.