With so many other trees bare now, the tulip poplars have come into their glory: under a dark sky, columns of softly rustling gold.
A tiger swallowtail flits through the top of the tulip tree, which this year because of the late frost is bare of blooms for the first time.
Overcast and cool. The big tulip tree’s few leaves not damaged by last week’s frost still wave. Beyond the powerline, a wood thrush sings.
The tulip tree’s luminous new leaves flutter against the blue sky in such a way that one can almost see why foresters call it a poplar.
I haven’t seen a porcupine lately, but who else could be debarking the tulip tree’s lower branches? They glow white against the rainy woods.
A break in the rain. In the barberry bush, a titmouse shakes himself all over. A squirrel pauses on a tulip tree limb to scratch his belly.
The tall tulip tree has burst its buds—shining green nubbins against the deep blue. Two crows chase a raven, diving, jeering themselves on.
Foggy and damp. Small flies—or large midges—drift back and forth. A few branches high in the big tulip tree appear to be freshly debarked.
Two tulip poplar leaves vibrate in a private wind: chickadees. The western ridge turns from blood-red to orange to yellow—autumn in reverse.
As many hours as the wind has been blowing, a strong gust brings still more leaves. A tulip poplar samara helicopters almost to the porch.
Home! A migrant wood thrush softly calls over the roar of the rain-swollen creek. In the big tulip tree, a squirrel is building a drey.
In the steady rain, a gray squirrel is climbing all over the big tulip tree, as if searching for something. A raven goes croaking overhead.
The sound of chainsaws from over the ridge. A chipmunk races up the big tulip poplar and returns to earth along the first, hung-down limb.
A tulip-tree leaf under the drip line cups its portion of rain. A chipmunk hidden in the dead grass shrieks when I turn the page of my book.