2:00 a.m. The first-quarter moon is down, and the sky — viewed without my glasses — is a smudge of dim, dinner plate-sized lights. I pee onto the driveway, careful not to splash my bare feet.
8:00 a.m. After a mostly sleepless night, I think at first I’m imagining things. I cup my hands to my ears, trying to hear over the roar of traffic from the interstate. Could that really be a hermit thrush? I walk quickly up into the woods and sit down on a log to listen.
How to describe it? The song of the hermit thrush is an elfin thing, full of crystal bells and moonlight and the kind of unanswerable questions most of us stopped asking after the first grade. The thrush must’ve flown all night, steering by the stars.
It’s a shame he wasn’t here yesterday morning, when it was so quiet. Now it’s Monday, and the people who know what Jesus thinks are eating Egg McMuffins while they drive, delivery trucks are making deliveries, and the schoolbuses are returning riderless to their barns.
10:30. The woods smell of heat. With the sun high over the leafless trees and the dying mountain laurel, there’s nothing to shield the ground from the shadows of hawks.
1:00 p.m. A red-bellied woodpecker trills and trills from the top of the tall locusts in the yard. I doze off with the window open, picturing the farm as seen from above: a green and brown bowl. A woodpecker’s paradise.
4:30. Camera in hand, I stand by the springhouse watching garter snakes circle the daffodils as if searching for something. Tongues flicker briefly as they pass each other. I can hear the whisper of their bodies, interlocking scales sliding over the dead leaves.
See also my mother’s post, Earth Day.