The truck slips from the warm ridgecrest into the riverbottom, under some line of inversion and into temperatures in the upper 30s. I’m afraid there will be ice to be dumped from the irrigation hoses, not just because it would be another hard letting go of Summer, but because I don’t feel much like having to clear spraying water nozzles and getting a face full of wet even if the sun will just have arisen. Dark in the shadows of the eastern ridge, the pasture will take a while to feel warm; grasshoppers are there, asleep in the cold including the Mexican Generals in their habitual mesquite tips. I don’t know where the Red-winged Grasshoppers hide for such a night. A Swainson’s Hawk looks cold himself, hunched in a tree top where the sun will strike first. Last night will be the last he can stand, and he will head towards Sonora today and no more of his kind will grace our sky until Spring returns. Yet–the Devil’s Claw in that pasture still hangs out a blossom or two.
The afternoon, nevertheless, heads up almost to the 90 degree mark, the infamous wind of this season of the Southwest comes up and lasts all day, takes my light palm-leaf Summer cowboy hat in its abrazo and flings it far, time after time Wind plays fetch and I know she’s telling me I ought to change over to the heavier beaver Stetson. The first Western storm approaches but probably won’t bless us, the wind its harbinger. The storm swirls down from the North instead of up from the tropics nearer by us: for Flagstaff it will be snow, but mildness reigns here in our own Land Beneath the Rim, our own Tierra Caliente. It’s probably pushed along to us the lone Cassin’s Kingbird that I spy up in #4 Pasture. The hot afternoon brings out many Western Pygmy Blue Butterflies to the pond’s rim–haven’t seen one of those since Spring. Grasshoppers also love the day’s heat, tiny-sized pale blue ones fly abundantly ahead of my step through their pastures. A Great Blue Heron flies back and forth between The Stockpond and open water of The Cienega in #1 Pasture, where over the course of the summer native Willows have established themselves and grown upwards with surprising quickness. Snipe is less jumpy than the heron, and has grown so used to me that I’m able to walk past within ten feet, and it still sits there.