Sunrise illuminates the hidden rooms of the elder tree. In one, a blackbird grooms, starting the day with the taste of its own feathers.
I carry a dry chair into the drenched garden. Elderberries dot the ground and raindrops dot the elder. A sudden shuffle of woodpigeon wings.
Breezy and cool. A gray down feather floats up and settles on a leaf of the elder tree. A blackbird’s orange beak peeks around the trunk.
The blue tits depart one by one. Empty now, the elder tree pivots gently in the wind. The sound of a hand saw like something breathing.
A blackbird sings then eats; a robin eats then sings—both in the elder with its clusters of berries bending lower and lower as they darken.
Overcast and blustery. A tiny caterpillar abseiling down from the elder tree has changed its mind and is slowly, flailingly going back up.
Cloudless and hot. A magpie and a robin sit in different parts of the elder tree, open-eyed but still. The dog moves to the shade.
Hot and humid. A skinny squirrel slinks through the mock orange and elder tree, trailed by the anxious trills of a robin.
From a house across the gardens, an infant’s wail. From the street, the din of bin men. And in between, the elder tree rustling with birds.
A tiny spider sits in a web linking mock orange to clothesline, which runs through the elder tree—she must feel each vibration in the yard.