A half moon high overhead, fading as the fog rises off the meadow. A nuthatch lands on the dead elm’s smooth trunk and turns all about.
It’s been 20 years since the butternut tree fell over, but I still miss it: the sky too big, too blank, the nuthatch’s call too far away.
The earth is brown again, and the hillside hidden in fog. A one-minute rain shower. Nuthatches chatter. The sun makes a bleary appearance.
Cold and quiet. An argument between nuthatches is picked up and amplified by a pileated woodpecker. The old dog farts in a patch of sun.
Mid-morning and the yard is seething with birds—chickadees, sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, titmice—foraging and singing despite the sleet.
Hard to pin-point the emotions evoked by familiar bird calls, beyond just “blue jay feeling,” “nuthatch feeling,” “goldfinch feeling.”
Sunny and cold. Wind hissing in the tops of the pines. The scattered calls of chickadees and nuthatches foraging at the edge of the woods.
Cold and overcast with a lighter gray patch where the sun might be. The nasal calls of a nuthatch. A distant mob of crows.
The birds seem strangely cheerful on this dull, overcast day. A nuthatch even goes up a tree trunk rather than the usual head-first descent.
A warm morning, and all I hear are the birds of winter: chickadee, nuthatch, pileated woodpecker. A dead cranefly dangles from a spiderweb.