After my acrobatic stair performance and subsequent recovery, coupled with a too long battle against Zombie’s taking over my lungs, I’m finally back to my morning walks. I had missed that quiet time, I just didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I stepped out of the car and set foot on the trail this morning.
The biggest difference? Twenty degrees cooler! Last time I went for a walk the pre-sunrise temps hovered at eighty-three. This morning? Sixty-three! Glorious! Even once the sun’s southern-leaning rays reached my skin I didn’t feel overly warm or wish for a water bottle. Summer seems almost behind us now. (It still hits ninety-something during the day.)
Other differences I noticed included:
Mushrooms? Not normally in the desert! But yeah, two major rainstorms, nearly five inches the first time and two inches the second. A year’s worth of rain in one month did a number on our little dry patch of earth. Fungi popping up all over the place.
Green! More than normal. Every plant seems intent on growing faster and bigger than its neighbor.
Fewer rabbits. Not sure why. Too cold? Coyotes perfecting their hunting technique? They’re sleeping in and waiting for warmer late morning temperatures?
The birds seemed extra cheerful and more willing to sing out. Maybe that’s just a result of being away so long I’ve forgotten their sounds. I think they’re every bit as happy about the cooler weather as any other desert dweller, human or otherwise.
More night herons out and about. I had wondered all summer long if they’d moved on to other feeding grounds forever, but I saw more this morning than I’ve seen in the past four months combined.
Things that stayed the same:
My coyote friend still frolics in the tall brush of the dry ponds and watches from a distance as I watch back. I’d like to think we share a sort of connection, but I’m not fooling myself with that idea.
That creosote and mingled dust smell still permeates the air. Some people don’t care for it, but to me it’s the scent of wildness and quiet. Some days I go out of my way in the car to drive past with my windows open just to get a whiff of one of my favorite places.
Peace abounds and wraps itself around me as I walk. That, more than any other aspect of my morning ritual summarizes best what I missed the most this past month. Lacking a brush with nature, I stumble around off-kilter and unfocused. It’s not something I ought to neglect.
“This early piece of the morning is mine.”