Monday, January 11, 2010
An Unexpected Visitor
After being away from home for nearly a month, we're finally camping:
10 days (or so) in Death valley.
The thermometer this Jan. 10 day reads 75. In the shade. I keep moving my reading chair around to find that shade, because in the sun it's pretty hot.
Allen and the boys (our two Standard Poodles) go back inside the motor home for a nap. A lunch-time nap, leaving me with my book, cup of cold coffee and, hot, dry air.
I'm alone. Reading.
A flitting off to my left catches my eye. Oh, look. I think this to myself because there's no one here but me. A bird, drinking out of the dog's water bowl. I watch, casually, as she drinks. Oh, isn't that cute. She's bathing in the water!
THEN WOW! LOOK! About 20 birds come in for a landing, all arguing over who gets to drink next. I settle the score a little by (shame on me) tossing out some crushed graham crackers. They scittle around, grabbing the crumbs farthest away from me, first, then gain courage to
They are all pretty familiar birds to me. I don't know what they are, but I see them a lot at the coast. Big, black birds with yellow rings around their eyes. Others are multi-tan colored birds. They are big, about the height of a parrot, but slender, with long tails. A few morning doves visit as do a dozen or so little black birds (robin-sized) with yellow eyes.
Something else then catches my eye. Coming straight-arrow at me from
across the desert. Speedy. Is it kicking up puffs of dust? What is it?
It arrives, about three feet in front of me and halts, nearly
wobbling itself in its sudden stop.
Oh, My Goodness! A Road Runner! And she's looking up at me with puppy-dog eyes. She's come running over to say, "Hey, I see your serving lunch!"
Look are her! She walks with her neck outstretched, her head feathers
erect, her tail feathers parallel to the ground, pecking at the crumbs
right under my chair. When she stops, her feathers retreat, her tail
turns upwards and her neck goes perpendicular. Walk, she outstretched.
Stop, she's a touch rounded.
But she's never stopped for long. She's in constant motion, eating (shame on me) bits of graham cracker.
I notice her arrival scatters the other birds, who I see hiding up in the mesquite trees (yes, there are trees in the desert, near an oasis, which I am, I guess).
When Speedy leaves, I feel like Wile E. Coyote, dumfounded by her speed. And those sweet eyes. And her whirlwind feet and legs, that, when stopped, look like chicken legs. When in motion, a blur.
She follows a straight-arrow path, back into the desert. In a puff, she's gone. The other birds return and resume.