Yesterday morning there was a dove stuffed in the entrance of Tim’s box, hanging upside down, beheaded.
December is an in-between time here, not fall and not winter. Autumn lingers, its golden mornings stretching through December. Here and there, a sudden cold front snaps us all to attention, freezing plants forgotten outside and reminding us to dig out warm coats and boots.
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.
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.
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.