Warm and still. Out of the corner of my eye, a pileated woodpecker slipping behind a tree. Distant howl of a train car’s misaligned wheels.
Fog blurs the distinction between white ground and white sky. The distant drum roll of a pileated woodpecker followed by a patter of rain.
In the holiday silence, a pileated woodpecker hammering a high-pitched snag is the loudest thing. The stream gurgles. Distant church bells.
A pileated woodpecker trepanning an oak to extract its harmful inhabitants the ants. Distant shots from deer hunters at a similar task.
A rattle of falling acorns where jays forage. Two pileated woodpeckers in succession land on the dead elm, red crests blazing in the sun.
Cold and mostly clear. A pileated woodpecker riot of one vents its fury in a glowing, golden canopy of chestnut oaks.
In the valley, two train whistles—one high, one low. Down-hollow, two drumming woodpeckers—likewise. A clearing wind dries the heavy dew.
A pileated woodpecker lands on the dead elm with a rattle of wings, the elm swaying. Below in the lilac a titmouse hammers away at an acorn.
Just in from the woods’ edge, pileated woodpeckers are carrying on like drunks at a party, hollering, pounding, shrieking with joy or rage.
The sky darkens, squirrels and jays scold an unseen threat, a pileated woodpecker makes a histrionic exit. Then nothing. The sky brightens.