Friday, April 9, 2010

A Chaparral Morning...

Last night I enjoyed a nice glass of wine – a Spanish wine, new to me, that was a gift from a friend and colleague.  It was delicious, and put me right to sleep.  I slept well, but woke early, and I was out walking our dogs by 3 am.  The moon was still well below the horizon, and the sky was very dark.  As my eyes accommodated, familiar constellations popped into view.  In a few minutes, the Milky Way swam into view – at first a faint swath from north overhead to the east, but soon a bright feature full of texture and even color.  The clear high-desert sky was on full display.

At the same time, the morning's cool air sinking down the hillside above me wafted the chaparral scents – sage, ceanothus, mountain mahogany, and others.  It was very quiet; still too early for the birds to be awake, and no coyotes were howling.  Our dogs (well, the three field spaniels, anyway) smelled something else.  They were completely focused on analyzing the path that this unknown animal had taken through our yard.  Prime possibilities: bobcat, coyote, mountain lion, or fox.  I'm sure they knew which it was, but I didn't.  Meanwhile our one border collie completely ignored all the smells and sights, and simply did his two favorite things: ran around the yard at near-supersonic speeds, and brought me pine cones and sticks to throw for him to retrieve.  The behavior of the field spaniels and the border collie is so different that one could be excused for thinking they were separate species.

I love these chaparral mornings...

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