October 30, 2013

The clouds, round, leaden gray, are in piles across the sky, or scattered touching the crowns of the Rincon. They are clouds of Winter, and if I were up on those granite-spired heights, I’d no doubt be thinking, “Snow!” I can hardly grasp that this is only the day after yesterday; the temperature isn’t going to rise out of the 60s. The great fluctuations between days like Autumn and days like Summer have the insects coming and going in response, though one day soon they’ll go “for good” (that is, for however long our entertainingly short Vernal-winter lasts!) Only one or two dragonflies patrol The Stockpond, and one blue damselfly and one red dragonfly over The Cienega in the freezing morning. In #1 Pasture there are no grasshoppers on the bermudagrass, which remains green, but I listen to an under-concert of crickets; in the flats of dried Saltweed, a couple of dull-colored grasshoppers, and one bright Red-winged.

How can we be so far along towards Winter, if the “ephemeral” dirt tank in #2 Pasture still has water in it? A Tarantula Hawk is there drinking, and one brown-and-bluish dragonfly, and a Painted Lady butterfly. In that pasture stretching out from the tank more grasshoppers are active, including scattered Red-winged before noon, and as the day warms (well, as much as it’s going to) many more of them come out under the sun until their clicking can be heard across all the wide grass. Boy are they back.