Let me begin by saying the past couple of months have been a harder stretch than usual. So when pre-sunrise twilight filled the house with an orange glow, I dressed and ran to the trail as fast as possible to submerge myself in maximum clouds and color.
The clouds were inky and layered while the sky behind was brilliant orangey-red. I turned my head to watch the clouds and a merlin landed on a tree snag in my neighbor's yard, about 20 feet away. Of course I stopped. It flew to a closer branch, touching briefly before diving into a bitter brush and snatching a quail. The bitter brush exploded with squawking birds in all directions.
On the trail, I ran by a couple of mountain bikers who gushed about the sunrise. We were all on a collective high.
The color subsided, but the low-angle winter light grazed the tops of rabbit brush and the red, rubbley side of Horse Butte was lit like a giant ruby in a treasure chest of gold. I know how corny that sounds, but it was my thought at the time, still on the sunrise high, perhaps.
Two mornings later, 10 feet onto the trail I stepped onto a mat of deer fur. Five feet to the left was a tidy pile of guts, and 15 more steps led me to a young deer, head and legs intact, but its body a rib bowl, not quite empty of blood. I saw the ears of a coyote running through the bushes, and the ravens circled and landed on the fence to my right. Less than an hour later, at the end of my run, I got a better view of the coyote, plump and stealthy, the carcass now pulled off the trail, and a full unkindness of ravens waiting for me to pass by. (Mack always ran to the ravens, knowing they knew where the goods were.) Days later, some tufts of fur and desiccated guts are all that is left. Roo grabs a bite of fur each morning.
Meteorological winter has mostly felt like spring. Lots of clouds, wind, and spitting rain. There are many pluses to this, including so many rainbows, one lasting over an hour. Some can't enjoy the mild weather because it shouldn't be so. I will be the loudest complainer in a fiery summer, hiding inside away from smoke, cranky and sad and mad, probably. But I hope to never be a person who isn't made whole by rainbows, wildlife encounters, and high desert light.