A cold front breezed down from the north this afternoon, bringing with it some pretty wild weather: thunder, lightning, hail, wind, and plenty of rain, nearly an inch of it. The rain is welcome, and the cooler temperatures too. There's a lovely bite in the air, suggesting that winter may not be long in coming.
But the loveliest gift of the cold front is a gaggle of sandhill cranes far overhead, streaming south in a long, ragged V, their high, wild calls falling on me like a blessing. I listen to them with a mixture of love, longing, joy, and apprehension, for many of the cranes that come to the winter grounds along the Texas coast have their nesting sites in northeast Siberia. With avian flu so much in the news, I have to wonder whether the cranes will be affected.
Another visitor today: a cold, wet black-chinned hummingbird, who took refuge on the single feeder I've left up for just such emergencies. I haven't seen any hummers for the past couple of weeks, so this guy is definitely a left-behind. He spent quite a while tanking up; hope he got enough good hummer juice to keep him going until he gets to . . . oh, say, San Antonio. It should probably be warm enough for him down there.
And it was cold and wet enough outside for Shadow to spend the afternoon on my desk, with her favorite mouse.