In the dark of madrugada, scattered snow crystals drop straight down, they are so large that they hit the walkway and the mesquite trunks with loud crackling.
The day lightens to an even gray, all the sky, to every horizon. The color of the bermudagrass is as half-toned as hay, the hoops of the Cottonwood crowns are gray though those yellow swaths of leaves still in them are bright even with no Sun … the mountains and cliffs are gray, and the great rock monoliths, and the snow that wants to shimmer when Sun appear … all is muted, understated, in Winter’s elegance. At Mason Pastures it is well above freezing, but there is a skin of ice on The Stockpond, and the puddles out on those pastures have sheets of ice over them a quarter inch thick. I turn on the irrigation, hoping that no nozzles have become blocked but one is, and I’m forced to feel that Winter elegance deep into cracked fingers while whatever is stopping up the water spout is cleared away by a poke with a wire.
A Snipe, striped like the brown and tan reeds, is near invisible where it stands. Masses of Lark Sparrows arrive or fly out, Red-shafted Flickers hunt something on the ground, and Say’s Phoebes catch the bugs that might be able to escape great cold but not the snapping bill of something consummately agile of wing. The day is cold and cloudy to its end, never getting out of the 50s, but despite that there is a surprising evening show of insects suspended on air.