A sudden cold morning, so cold I put on a winter canvas rancher’s vest to make the before-the-sun-comes-up rounds of turning off the waterers across all the pastures. The temperature is in the low 50s; by noon it will be in the 100s. It is so cold there are almost no birds at The Stockpond, a great shock now I’ve come to be accustomed to the showing of so many who come in from the greatest of distances to get their water and stay alive. They must all be shivering somewhere!
The evening. I’ve finished turning on all the waterers again and at The Stockpond the scene is a very different one than morning’s, more different than can be imagined at the end of this roasting day. Did that chilly dawn actually happen? In the last rays from high overhead descends a swirling vortex of swallows, martins, bats, nightjars–swinging low, dipping for moments longer and shorter, in sets in an orderly fashion; their numbers can hardly be grasped. Then the sun is gone, the critters of daylight’s last shift drink but are seen only in the reflection of the pond’s surface that picks up a final light coming down from the arc of the sky. Our friendly Jackrabbits sit in front of the dark mesquite wall across the way, I only know they are there because their ears can be seen in upside-down reflection in that pink water. An entire reversed Great Blue Heron is there in the wide mirror, too, its actual body I can hardly make out against the dark trees even though it is so sizable a bird.