The tailings of November, when the sky takes on the character of dingy cotton batting and the air smells of newly-cut lumber from the house rising on the corner, and the yellow-and-black sign plunged into the front yard two doors down from it speaks volumes: Bank Owned. Auction.
The tailings of November and the trees have at last disrobed. I find myself enamored with the elegant scaffolding this time of year reveals. At the corner of Hemlock and Berne a hornet’s nest is beached in the uppermost branches of a crape myrtle: the branches shed of leaves are polished bone, the nest like wadded, unbleached linen.
The day after Thanksgiving we drove further than we should have, a lunch of leftovers packed into the trunk, spurred on by visions of waterfalls and the promise of fossils to be found on the side of the road.
The spoil heaps where they once could be hunted were festooned with with No Trespassing signs that kept us in the car, but later, on the path that led us toward the roar of the waterfall, we found a small discarded nest, fetched up against one piling of the guardrail. Neither the haphazard stucco’ing of mud robins resort to nor a mockingbird’s thatch of sticks, it was threaded through with pine needles and delicate dried stalks, the embroidery of it french-knotted here and there with tiny seed heads.
We packaged it up carefully into the tupperware that had held slices of apple; we picked up shale and talked about the way there could be the the ghost-images of plants pressed into its layered pages; we watched the water sluicing from the lip of rock above us, and threw rocks into the creek solely for the glory of their splashing.