There’s no settling into a season. It’s as though we’re beyond that now except for the slow retreat and stretch of day against night.
The birds know all this and more.
Mourning doves blister the sky with sudden starts.
Bluebirds dangle their bauble selves about the nesting boxes.
Cedar waxwings gorge on ice berries while red-bellied woodpeckers percuss against the house.
A heron, grey on grey, flaps against this pale December sky .
Robins, instead of heading south, are getting smashed in the crabapple tree.
Starlings pour their liquid form through the sky in snaking undulations. And when they land on the lawn the earth turns black.
A solo red-breasted grosbeak—a juvenile-- with an odd-shaped wing, hangs about the birdfeeders with the chickadees who flit back and forth back and forth seed by seed clutched in their small beaks as though marking time.
Crows charge one another in daredevil spirals, and a barred owl haunts the edges of this scene.
If I were a painter, this would be all Bosch or Bruegel.
It’s as though they heard the turkeys scream last week, as though they know what it means when the escapee pheasants cry their joy from the snow-dappled garden, as though they've given in to the hawk waiting just beyond, calling them home.