The First of June … MidForesummer Night’s Eve was a cool, fresh 60 degrees, the day will soar to over 103 and soon far above that, and this is how The River will live until the first temporal breaks upon us with the most welcome, sudden violence some weeks from now. I must remember that $5 fine for whinin’, and try through those weeks to keep celebrating the extremes of this land to which I have said, “I do”, to whom I have promised to love on her own terms of heat and the kissing bug sickness that has not left me yet this morning. All that must either be forgotten or ignored or embraced and held in wonder, or a working hand will not make it. The heifer, Venus, who told me to stop complaining has caught the eye of the bulls with their Lolita Complex, and I’m going to have to spirit her away to El Potrero before she gets bred at too young an age for her health. In this life without time-clocks to be punched, there are enough such concerns and duties lined up that the challenges Foresummer throws at us while we make it through to its end fade to the mere cost of a freedom (of sorts) envied by so many other people …
I thank You, Lord, that I am placed so well,
that you have made my freedom so complete,
that I’m no slave of whistle, clock, or bell
or weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street …
–Charles Badger Clark, “The Cowboy’s Prayer”, 1915
The herd, though, holds us in thrall even if whistle, clock and bell do not, and so does the grass that must be kept growing for them. The Blue Grosbeaks continue to delight and distract me from those duties, they demand such attention that every sighting seems like the first. Their bodies are the very blue of Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, their wingbar and shoulder patch the very adobe brown Kahlo also used to set off her brilliant walls. Every time I see one fly past now, however, I can’t help but call it by Chris E.’s spoonerism, “Gross Bluebeak”! They are still accompanied by Lazuli Buntings that, while paler, are of a blue equally fine. This may be the last of this bunting to be seen for a little while: they don’t stay away very long in the north before they turn back our way and head then to party down in Vallarty for the winter.
Red algae is appearing in ever larger drifts on The Stockpond, though there is a lot of open water still.