Today it rained.

We walked the little river loop at Little Campbell River, a canopy of vine maples bent and beckoning over the path like a glowing arcade of autumn’s yellow leaves.

I tricked a chickadee to land on my hand, even though there was not a bit of seed in it. Then from a branch nearby he sat and looked at me.

Even a sparrow today was tame enough to try a sunflower seed husk I’d turned over in my palm to bring it near. Strange for a sparrow, that friendly approach. She’d been following me around like a little sister, so I thought she’d take the bait. I wished it hadn’t been only the husk, that I could have satisfied her appetite and not just her curiosity.

There were herons, perfectly still and almost hidden by the misted river bank. A wren that hopped with its tail held up at high angles.

And, I’m happy to say, the rufous-sided towhee, in the same spot I always see it every year. Its call seems, like some gentle reptilian interjection, to be thrown through a wormhole from the Jurassic to us.



Overcast yesterday at a peanut-shaped lake. The air was still, the trees barely indicating any atmosphere. Chickadees whirred electrically.

The cottontails seemed tame, but hopped off as soon as a certain buffer was breached. Two black crows walked like Egyptians. They were thirty feet apart but followed the same basic path at the same basic pace. Their type of black, like coal, contains deep indigo. And grey.

At lunch, my father spilled a cup of powdery Parmesan cheese on his chair, swept it up into his palm, and shook it off in the yard on a pile of golden dry cedar leaves, where it remains. Lucky mouse.


Sunday at Leslie Spit, the waves crashed and the wind was high. Everywhere I walked hopping bugs hopped up, and to my left and right they chirred in the red and green grasses.

Only some things were brown today, like the dead and cobwebbed seedpods and desiccated bushes. Some trees were going gold, but there were many bright flowers, and strong young pines, and the leaves of the poplars seemed to rush through the wind like surf.

No butterfly would allow me close. Many cabbage whites lighted nearby, but they are in almost constant and erratic motion, and when they do stop they stop for less than a moment, and you only have time to consider approaching, but never the time for even one step before they fly.

Mink and coyote scat at the edge of the trail. Dried and cracked mud on the dikes. The sun was out and my face got red. It was 20 degrees.

Outside my window now, the air is thick with midges. They get caught in the hairs on my arm.


Two days ago I saw two squirrels turning big folds of kleenex around in their mouths. I wondered if the recent cool stint had given them the idea to insulate their nests. A man stooped to commune with one in front of a florist’s. When I went in to the shop the florist said that the squirrel had been in to bury nuts in her planters.

Yesterday I found a dead bird on my stoop. I lifted it. A perfectly spherical and bloody bubble grew out of the right aperture of its beak.

Today the concrete was so dusty a sparrow tried to bathe in it. Autumn is on its way. All the birds are becoming plump.


In the garden today, pulled up dead leaves.

Uprooted Artemisia and mint.

Chopped down dead maple.

Cultivating the coriander, parsley, lemongrass, and thyme. Begonia and geranium. Stonecrop sedum, Solomon’s seal, and obedient flower. Lily of the valley, lady’s mantle, bleeding heart, goat’s beard.

Woodlice scrambled; millipedes squirmed. It was twenty degrees.

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