High Temperature: 73F Low Temperature: 44F Sunrise: 7:35 am Sunset: 6:46 pm Humidity: 70% Wind: wnw 9 mph Chance of Rain: 20%
At around four this afternoon the wind picked up and swiveled itself around from the moist Gulf air coming from the south, to the crisp, cool air rushing down from the north. A walk after lunch in a tee-shirt became a walk before dinner in a jacket and wishing for a hat. But I love it. I love the browning of the leaves, the sound they make rustling together, the swaying grass in the fields, the smell of rain somewhere off in the far distance. I could stay in October for months on end.
High Temperature: 73F Low Temperature: 60F Sunrise: 7:34 am Sunset: 6:47 pm Humidity: 50% Wind: s 17 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
Yesterday's calm was answered by today's relentless beating by a southerly wind. By morning brown leaves will have covered the drive and drifted into piles. The drying and dying grasses sway to and fro, their golden heads catching the sunlight before throwing it off again. What clouds dared to form in the deep blue of the sky have been mustered into long cigar-shaped lines that march north to south.
High Temperature: 66F Low Temperature: 43F Sunrise: 7:38 am Sunset: 6:54 pm Humidity: 43% Wind: 0 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
I take it back. Any day that I deemed "perfect" prior to this day has been demoted to near-perfection. Today takes the prize. Somehow this perfection coincided with our plan to drive to a nearby lake for a picnic lunch. In almost every past instance of us endeavoring to eat out of doors, the restless Oklahoma wind has spoiled our plans. Napkins and plates had to be held down with water bottles or cellphones; hair blew into eyes and mouths; dust whirled onto sandwiches and into beverages.
But today we ate unmolested. No bugs, no noisy companion picnickers. After eating we strolled down to the lake's edge to admire a flock of Canada geese. Later we attempted to hike a horse trail into the woods, but a) the dogs continually paused to sniff new and alluring scents, and b) we came to a muddy stream that could not be crossed without getting all 12 legs dirty.
We topped this day off by watching an episode of The Bureau and toasting ourselves with a glass of wine. Perfection.
High Temperature: 69F Low Temperature: 39F Sunrise: 7:33 am Sunset: 6:50 pm Humidity: 32% Wind: ne 16 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
We are getting knocked about with a quintessentially fall wind and it's wonderful. Yellow and orange leaves are blowing about and the sky is dramatic with low, flat, dark gray clouds. Overnight temperatures will really drop - into the upper 30s.
High Temperature: 87F Low Temperature: 60F Sunrise: 7:32 am Sunset: 6:51 pm Humidity: 55% Wind: s 17 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
To our great annoyance, last evening one of the neighbors to the south had a fire going in which he was apparently burning his trash. A thick, white, noxious cloud of smoke rose from the spot while also sinking and spreading in a long, flat line directly to his unfortunate next door neighbor. We were just getting what was moving on the light wind, and it was awful enough.
It smelled oily. It smelled like plastic. It smelled like cold winter nights in Armenia. That's where the smoke and the stench took my mind last night, back to my time living in a hotel room in that country's capital. As night descended in downtown Yerevan, the poor inhabitants had no other way of heating their dwellings or cooking their food. They lit up whatever flammables they could find. The acrid chemical odor found its way into the cracks around the window, a strange juxtaposition with the warm, comfortable and well-lit hotel room. From the high vantage point of my room I could see the haze of smoke drifting through the orange light cast by the few lamps standing sporadically throughout the city. By morning the smell was gone; the cityscape's harsh edges were softened by the night's smoke, frozen in milky place by the cold.
High Temperature: 81F Low Temperature: 53F Sunrise: 7:31 am Sunset: 6:52 pm Humidity: 23% Wind: s 8 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
Two sightings in one day could be an omen. If so, I think it must be an omen of the good kind. How could something bad be represented by the pure white elegance and grace of a Great Egret?
This morning just as we started into the southern pasture, Several crows caught my eye as they busily flew by. Just beyond and above them I saw two large birds making their way towards the (very) small pond in the center of the southern pasture. The whiteness of their wings was blinding in the morning sun. It must be good fishing at the little pond because we often see egrets stalking the edges. We stopped to watch them circle and slowly lower themselves, wings curved downward and holding steady, down to the water. We lost sight of their landing because of the tall grasses that surround the pond. Respecting their privacy, we took another route.
Later in the day, Willa and I walked to the "new" pond and just as we reached it, a white Great Egret lifted off from its hunting spot among the partially submerged dead trees at the northern end. It didn't go far. Down it went to the western pond to try its luck among the cattails.
High Temperature: 75F Low Temperature: 46F Sunrise: 7:30 am Sunset: 6:53 am Humidity: 21% Wind: n 12 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
It is the rarest kind of day for Oklahoma: mild enough that the windows can stay open all day long, letting in a refreshing northerly breeze. There was just the slightest touch of cool on our post-lunch walk. Even Ike - who despises heat - came along with Willa and me.
High Temperature: 88F Low Temperature: 50F Sunrise: 7:29 am Sunset: 6:55 pm Humidity: 46% Wind: sse 14 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
Something is killing our oaks trees. This part of Oklahoma is not known for its towering hardwoods. Instead, our woods are populated by scrappy winged elms, weedy persimmons, glacially-slow growing hackberries, and squat black jack oaks. But here and there we have a few towering oak trees of a kind with branches that slope down towards the earth, creating a sheltering, shady canopy. The trees are straight and tall and true.
But we've lost several beautiful specimens over the years. The dying process is a slow one. It starts with a kind of scaly look to the bark as lichen creeps along and up the branches. Pockets of browned and crumpled leaves dot the tree and eventually, whole branches simply drop to the ground. Eventually all of the branches fall and what remains is a limbless tower of rotten wood.
The one pictured above sits in the western pasture near a shallow gully that fills with water during heavy rains. It's in a spot that makes for a nice resting place in which to get out of the sun for a bit during high summer walks. I can see the progression of steely-green lichen on its bark and there are several dead branches on the ground at its feet. I expect in a few years, this mighty oak will be reduced to worm and insect food, its imposing presence just a memory.
High Temperature: 84F Low Temperature: 58F Sunrise: 7:28 am Sunset: 6:56 pm Humidity: 57% Wind: nne 4 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
Last night just after the sun went down behind the line of trees in the west, we walked up the driveway to turn off the oil pump. As my husband did the honors of flipping the switch, I heard a piercing, hawk-like cry from above. Looking up into the absolutely clear blue sky, I saw a medium-sized bird with sharply tapered wings turning and dropping and diving. Then I saw another one and another and another. They stayed fairly close together, circling high above and around the field that surrounds the oil pump. The only other distinguishing feature I could make out was a white bar across the underside of their wings. We thought they were probably night jars. A quick internet search revealed that the birds were night hawks. They look very similar to night jars, and like night jars, disappear into their environments when on the ground. But my goodness, what skilled fliers!
I was happy to think of these four birds with the fading sky all to themselves, cleaning the airspace of insects as they made their way to their winter home somewhere to the south.
High Temperature: 81F Low Temperature: 60F Sunrise: 7:28 am Sunset: 6:57 pm Humidity: 59% Wind: sse 9 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
For the past couple of weeks, my husband and I have looked with especial anticipation to the quiet time after dinner, after the last walk of the day, to fire up the Apple TV and tune into the French series, The Bureau. Amazon Prime got us hooked by making the first season available to watch for free. It was so good that we splashed out for a Sundance Now subscription just to watch Seasons 2, 3, 4, and 5.
The series centers around a small group within a larger espionage agency whose focus, at least for the seasons we've seen so far, is the Middle East. The location filming is impressive, the characters engaging, the acting top-notch, and the storylines - though far-fetched here and there - are riveting. We are finicky television and movie consumers and can turn fickle on a dime (witness: The Wire), but three seasons into The Bureau, we are still glued to the set.