Moody but luminous gray skies persist even when the rain has stopped. Dozens of birds appear, darting from one sodden pine to another, visiting the dogwoods to snack on the bright red berries, and alighting briefly on the mulberry branches whose green and yellow leaves then shake loose quick showers of captured raindrops. More drops have been caught along the underside of the rain gutters, and they hang there reflecting the light, lending the house an oddly festive air. The fallen pine needles have turned bright, the street now a patchwork of their coppery red interspersed with shining black mirrors of rainwater in which the clouds drift. The still air resounds with high-pitched chirps and the beating of wings, the splatter of water dropped by the pines, and (only for a moment) the honking of geese hidden among the low clouds. As dusky day fades to duskier evening, a single blue jay perches on the telephone wire, looking about and periodically shaking its tail feathers. Soft mist arrives. The jay flutters its wings and soars to the tip of a pine tree, then departs toward the darkening woods, having uttered not a single squawk. The pleasant chill I feel is from more than the cold.