Tuesday, September 25, 7:30-8:45 a.m.
After several chilly days of rain, yesterday was clear and sunny with gale-force winds. At last, this morning, both clear sky and calm stillness came together. Before sunrise there was hardly a breeze stirring and only a few fleecy, small clouds near the horizon.
This time of year the meadow is a dessicated miniature jungle, a tangle of drying stalks and leaves and seeds. Queen-Anne’s lace has curled up to shape itself into brittle bird’s-nest cages, and the little grey-headed coneflowers have dropped their petals, leaving heavy, dark seedheads that bow the tall stems. Grasses rustle, their heads also heavy with seed, leaves beginning to curl.
A little bird throws its voice like a ventriloquist, sounding first here, then there, but always just out of sight. There are crows in the middle distance, calling to each other on crow business. Canada geese wing by overhead. One unbalanced V flies south, its left leg longer than its right, and half an hour later a ragged line of more geese crosses the sky from east to west, their voices audible long before they come into sight.
As the sun comes up over the dark trees of the eastern woods, it creates a band of light on the meadow, leaving the intermediate orchard trees in shade. Higher and higher climbs the sun, and as it climbs a breeze starts up and keeps pace, stirring the leaves of maple, popple, and catalpa more vigorously as the light increases. Finally the sun is blazing through the weeds. It lights up strands of spiderweb that tremble and gleam and dance. Morning has broken.