Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not to be missed

It rained last night. A real, honest-to-goodness, drumming-on-the-roof sort of rain. By the cloud-covered light of day we can see that a scant 1000 feet above Salida they got snow, and it's still precipitating here and there. It's been one of those years where I wish I had tallied how many days have been like this. The tourism board and third grade social studies books say we get 300 days of sunshine out of every 365. Maayyyyyyybe. This year it seems like a stretch.

But, weather or no weather, I daren't miss a morning walk just now. Things are happening out there, and from now until June I will live every indoor moment with the nagging fear that I'm missing something.

Yesterday, for example, was the first black phoebe day of the year. It's only been in the last 3 or 4 years (that we know of) that they've been making regular attempts to breed in the county, so it's nice to see them still enthusiastic about their chosen real estate. About once a year an American avocet passes through here... and that day was also yesterday. (Today? Gone.) The white-faced ibis, on the other hand, are still being coy. They should be here NOW. Today. But so far no sign of them. (Little voice says, "Don't miss them.")

Leaf-out is progressing agonizingly slowly. Rabbitbrush stems are turning green and willow stems are turning yellow and orange. A few of last season's leaves continue to cling stubbornly to branches, but their successors are squeezing past them. Some day soon we're going to wake up and notice the color scale has tipped from gray to green. (Little voice says, "Don't miss it.")

The last mile of my walk is along concrete-paved path, which this morning was littered with thousands of earthworms, stranded overnight in their quest for oxygen above rain-soaked soil. I always find it a little dismaying to come across such scenes, especially for an entire mile of trail. The path was quite dry by the time I climbed the hill and crossed the road to meet it, and most of the beached critters were just so much worm jerky. But since I had to watch where I was stepping anyway (
not always one of my greater talents), I kept an eye peeled for any sign of worm locomotion. (Yes, folks... she pinches tree blooms in the dark and rescues beached worms. A Nobel Peace Prize nomination is in the mail, I am sure.)

I'm afraid I didn't find more than 8 or 10 wrigglers in that morbid mile, but at least those decomposers who are not now decompose-ees are back at work in trailside dirt.

Where, now that I think about it, they will probably become bird food.

Still.... that same little voice says, "Glad I didn't miss it."


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