bunt sign

Friday, August 10, 2001

Next spring will be my second one in this house, and I already know one thing. I will not take it for granted. I remember it was green here once, and when the green returns, I'll be happy to see it.

Everything is brown now, or at least that shade of brown we call California gold. It's the color of almost every hillside and field in all of this vast and varied state. I spend hours every week pulling the high, golden weeds, just so I can walk on the golden ground underneath. Even the trees that rim my yard are starting to change color, just a little.

Today was almost like a fall day, in fact. It was breezy, and the sky was dotted with clouds. It wasn't cool enough to be spring, so it had to be autumn. It's over a month early, but it's been that kind of year. Everything has been just slightly off track.

We've had a few summery days, and I really thought the summer weather pattern was finally here when we had some hot days followed by a cool, gray interlude. That's the way it's always been here this time of year, but everything seems upside down lately. You just can't count on the old patterns holding up any more.

back porch

A little bit of spring peeking through the porch.

These days I'm grateful for any green anywhere, even if it's something that's not growing where it's supposed to. The birds are happy to see new life easing it's way through the boards in my back porch. My next improvement (and it's long overdue) is something that will serve as a birdbath. I'm losing a lot of my feathered friends to places that are even more friendly, I think.

The yard and garden were a little different somehow when I got back from vacation. Maybe it's just the natural progression of life this time of year. The gophers (or moles, I'm still not sure) have taken over the walkway. The lizards are smaller than before — the next generation, I suppose.

As for the birds, the strongest presence now is the pair of mourning doves who have taken over a spot on the fence above the berry bramble. They're always around, and we seem to forget about each other ... until I get too close to them, that is. Then there's a furious beating of wings and the liquid trill of doves in flight, as they relocate temporarily to new perches. They always come back, though.

I've gone through seasons of scrub jays, black phoebes, swallows and finches. All have come and gone, although they've never totally deserted me. The hummingbirds keep returning, as long as I keep their feeder filled. The hawks are still around, although I see less of them now than I did in the spring.

Later this month I will have lived in this house for a full year. I can hardly believe that much time has passed. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that I ever lived anywhere else. I've learned a lot about how to take care of the place, and I hope in the second year I'll be living in even closer harmony with my fellow creatures.

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