A black squirrel stared at me from the split of the slender maple tree. Its gleaming eyes hardened. Tail rippling, it scuttled up the branch, launched itself onto the roof, and kept running.
High in the pine on the other side of the house, a bird was calling out over and over like a lost child. I shielded my eyes from the blazing sun. Its fierce light burst through the pine boughs, blindingly. But I could see: a huge black bird was cawing, cawing. Its beak looked ready to crush and tear and shred--but for the moment, the beak was not a vicious weapon but a sobbing mouth.
The mossy bricks had chilled my bare feet. I walked through the black shadows and into the silent house. I don't know how long the black squirrel ran up and down the roof; the scratching of its claws couldn't filter through tile and ceiling. Neither do I know how long the black crow kept calling. I had no answers for its questions.