Tuesday, December 16, 2008



Winter arrived rather peacefully this year. No dramatic storms or sudden drops in temperature. Just a slow ratchet down of the temperature, which was hardly noticed until suddenly I realized that the concrete outside is ALWAYS cold on my bare feet and the garden hadn't been watered in a couple weeks without any drooping from the radish and collard leaves.

Female/Juvenile Black-throated Sparrow

Winter feels very congested in so many ways. The sky is thick with clouds and buildings are thick with people. The outdoors greet me with a whoosh of cold air every time I open the door. In spite of this, the fall annuals are sprouting between the river rocks and lava rocks that cover the front yards of so many Tucsonans. Tiny green cotyledons, the size of the "8" on your keyboard, burst forth in spite of the loom of frost in our future. Erik says they are next spring's annuals. I guess that means they can survive frost, which seems remarkable to me.

Winter seems the season for birds. I notice them most frequently, as the reptiles are mostly hunkered down, except for some of this season's babies, trying to get one more meal in to make it through the coldest weeks. The insects are all but gone, except for a freak grasshopper, household guests, and occasional miniscule UFOs. Now the bird songs sound sharper and crisper against the cold dry empty air.

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