Yesterday's drifting mass of silver-veined slate clouds have been replaced by featureless grey, but the flocks of small birds have arrived as they do each afternoon this time of year, to fill the day with chirping and the flutter of wings. They come to peck in the lawn and to raid berries from the dogwood trees. From down the street, the smell of burning charcoal drifts; some die-hard barbecue fan is reluctant to let the summer go. In the grey chill, the large, deep green leaves of the fruitless mulberry seem to shine more brightly than they do in the sunlight, as though they were already slick with the anticipated rain. When the birds have left, I will go into the house and play music to replace their vanished song.