Each morning I walk the arroyo with Daisy and watch the Spanish oaks transform themselves, their leaves deepening to maroon.
October just slipped by. When we came back from Yellowstone, it was still warm in Austin. Days drifted into the 80s, but the shift to cooler temperatures began as some mornings sank to 47 degrees. The first thing I see each morning is my neighbor’s cottonwood tree, now a glorious gold shining in the morning sunlight. It is the first color change of autumn in the neighborhood.
Yesterday, the first day of fall, it snowed 14 inches in the northern range of Yellowstone. We expected cold weather and snow, but not a foot or more. The road from Mammoth to Norris was closed and though Dunraven Pass was reopened, it could easily be closed again by another snow shower. If we drove to Gardiner and couldn’t get over the pass to Canyon where we are staying, we would wind up going back around anyway.
While Harvey swept Houston and south Texas with flood waters, carrying away homes, lifetimes, Central Texas – or at least Austin – bursts open with new life. Cooler temperatures and soaking rain have almost made us forget it’s still summer. The redbud tree has never looked so full and green. The sage is in bloom, delicate white flowers covering dusty green leaves and the salvia is a shower of red blossoms.
My eyes widened when I saw him. 55 pounds? Maybe. But tall, lanky, skinny. Where have I seen those markings before? My neighbor's Anatolian shepherd. He licked my hands and wiggled around. Yes, he was sweet. My eyebrows raised again. He was intact. They didn’t tell me that! Well . . . I said I would do this. Can’t back down now.
After months, I heard the owls one night this week, trilling loudly as I walked Daisy through the neighborhood. Searching dark shadows of tree branches for small oval shapes, I couldn’t find them. They are molting now, scattering gray and white feathers across Tim’s yard. The owls that visit my yard are gone; neither seen nor heard. This spring Daisy and I would often return from an evening walk and find an owl perched on a shepherd’s hook, head bent, searching the ground for bugs. Now the yard is empty and silent.
The Junction Butte Pack has moved to Lamar Valley. Seven wolves, five black and two grays, including 907F, were bedded in the sage on the south side of Lamar River. Earlier this morning they tested bison, no doubt looking for calves, weaving in and out of the sage, or lying bedded, still watching the bison.