A yellow mayfly struggles to cross the desert of my porch floor. I glance over at the streambank: yellow coneflowers, the first goldenrod.
So quiet, I could be in the middle of nowhere: nothing but the slow trickle of the stream and the gurgling of my belly. A few faint stars.
I sit in the dark listening to the downpour, trying to pick out all the different instruments: roof, road, weeds, trees, leaf litter, creek.
A winter wren’s wandering burble from above the dry creek. A visitor brings out his old-time banjo and tunes it with an electronic tuner.
A hummingbird checks me out before visiting the bergamot, and again afterwards. Then she zips down to the stream for the briefest of drinks.
At dawn, I watch the moonlight fading into the snow like the light going out of the eyes of a dying creature. The gurgle of the stream.
A sky of shifting gray. This is basement-flooding weather. I crack out the harmonica, hoping that no one will hear it above the creek.
Barely audible over the stream: claws on bark, slow footsteps. A porcupine’s round shadow crosses the yard and squeezes under the porch.
Ground-level clouds appear and disappear in the half-dark; even the thermometer is fogged up. Over the roar of the stream, a robin’s song.
The stream this morning is full of auguries, such as: “If you want to be master of all you survey, live in a ravine.” Carolina wren song.
Christmas—the quietest morning of the year. The stream is a full chorus. A pileated woodpecker flaps overhead, cheering itself on.