The Weather Service says we had a dry October, but that doesn't mean sunny. The days have been windswept, cold, and cloudy, for the most part. On my walks I've been watching the tops of the leafless alders, fascinated by the pattern of dark branches against shining sky.
It all looks so cold and lifeless… and then I'll walk past another tree and hundreds of small birds (siskins and probably redpolls too) will explode from the branches and swirl into the sky. They'll eddy for a moment like a river current, then descend to clutter the branches of the next alder. Then, as I approach, they'll take off again, all in unison so that hundreds of tiny, soft wing-claps merge into a great and startling "whump".
This sketch was inspired by those patterns of branches and birds. I haven't quite got the gestures of the alder branches, but I think it captures some of that restless motion.