Staccato sounds: the distant drumming of a pileated woodpecker, a white-breasted nuthatch’s agitated call, rain tapping on the roof. Again.
Under a white sky, the small white car of the meter man, and a heavy frost. Two nuthatches are having a frank exchange of views.
Light snow powdering my black sleeves. I watch a nuthatch inspect each branch of a walnut, its sideways hop and dip when it finds a morsel.
All the most supine stiltgrass has grown white fur in the night. Two nuthatches foraging at the woods’ edge react badly to my sneeze.
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.”