Truly an autumn snow: eight inches with a topping of fallen oak leaves. In the green and brown lilac, a house finch’s purple breast.
Two oak leaves are caught by a birch, one after the other. From somewhere in the clouds, the buzzing rattle of a plane with a loose part.
First snowfall of the year—a quarter inch. Newly fallen oak leaves roll across it, or scuttle like crabs on their curled lobe-tips.
It’s morning in America, and I’m looking at a deep blue sky and a hillside of oaks—rust-red leaves still hanging on. They glow in the sun.
Oak leaves that turned brown just a few days ago already rattle instead of rustling. A hunter in gray camouflage emerges from the woods.
A few oaks are turning brown behind the birches’ washed-out yellow. High on a bare limb, a squirrel nest the exact shape of a porcupine.
The hiss of the wind. Oak leaves scud above the treetops in one direction while juncos and sparrows move through the weeds in the other.
Yesterday’s snow lingers in the shadows and drips and slides from the leaves, filling the treetops with rustling. Vultures spiral overhead.
Another too-warm morning: late April without the warblers. Three dried oak leaves launched into flight by the wind circle like doomed hawks.
A small hawk flies through the forest in steady rain, perches in the crown of an oak for several minutes, and flies on. The wind picks up.