Days barely creeping above the forties, my focus has turned from what I can observe from our open-air, front-facing porch, to the feeders out back.
The grassy field across the road, now quiet.
The maple branches, empty of nesters.
I close the door firmly against the chill beneath a heavily clouded, gray sky.
And reluctantly fold the canvas chairs.
From behind glass, I watch at the edge of the woods,
through bare branches that reveal what summer keeps from us.
The dense scrub of honeysuckle, now a moth-eaten covering of pale green.
The red tinge of Burning Bush, almost past.
All upon a carpet of brown, rolled from one end of the woods to the other.
Beneath the feeders, a Fox Sparrow scratches in deep leaves—the light and shadow on the curled forms, the tones streaking his breast. He is of the colors all around—rufous and gray.
So, too, is this very large Fox Squirrel, pausing to peel a hickory nut, his luxurious red tail catching autumn light. His feet and face, the color of fallen leaves. His back, like tree bark.
What nature has revealed in bare branches, she has covered on the ground.