Five Green-winged Teal dabble in our shallow pond, while on the “dirt tank” of our fence neighbor ranch to the south, a Redhead makes a startling appearance but that pond is deep enough to attract such diving ducks.
A fearless Ruby-crowned Kinglet comes to work over the mesquite tips where I’m still rather frantically trying to reset T-posts and raise wire along Cascabel Road so our cows don’t go on a walkabout this summer to vacuum the sweet, tasty trillion of mesquite beans that will fall on the gravel roadway. For the first time I ever heard one here, a Cactus Wren’s raspy chortling comes from the dry slopes and Saguaros rising from the opposite side of the roadway. It makes me think the mystery bird in there is not some species of wren after all; I don’t know if I’ll ever hear it again to be able to seek it out at last and identify it.
The Cottonwoods oh the Cottonwoods on The River oh how can it be that no, I haven’t been imagining those tiniest of changes coming over them already before midwinter has come? Glances in passing for the past few days have left me wondering, “Are they still bare?” and neighbors are asking, “My gosh, can the Cottonwoods be leafing out??” I wanted to believe they were still bare and would stay that way a while, for one can hardly get enough of the sleeping beauty of the translucent, filigreed crowns and the galleries of white trunks and limbs. But now it’s undeniable: the trees are indeed pale green, the long forests of them are bands of the soft color, the land above them and the shrubby edges below them a gray even softer, with snow high over them white on wilderness slopes.