Birds sing out raucously at dawn and settle down later as the day moves on, but I see now how this is so for the plants as well; an alertness, loud presence, which will soften into absorption or even forbearance as the heat rises. Looking too at an anole—a small lizard—perched on the woody stem of the ti plant, its red-throated mating movement (it's a dewlap that protrudes in and out) announcing territory and readiness. Silent, to me, but speaking its own language at full volume. These are brown anoles that come in many color variations, and can apparently change their color to some degree. They are often spotted. They rush up tree trunks quickly, like squirrels, and as squirrels leap across branches, these little ones leap from leaf to leaf. They are part of the everyday scenery here, and the everyday drama. I found two locked together in my outdoor shower, so poignant, and yesterday I opened the mailbox to find not letters, but an anole with a truncated tail, resting. I’ve watched an egret grab one and run on its long legs, lizard tail dangling from its mouth. (Anoles can separate from their tails as a form of protection, and it's a strange sensation to pick one up that way and almost instantaneously be left with a disconnected tail in one's fingers.) I see one climbing the screen, legs akimbo, underbelly open to view.
Not visible from where I sit now or at this time of day, there’s the slow turtle that suns itself by the canal. Going out to the driveway to get the morning paper, I see ducks paddling the pond or rooting in the drainage ditch—just females, leaving me to wonder about the males and the gender dynamics. Some days there's a night heron, an egret, or even a wood stork, looking for fish, or a group of ibis pecking the ground with those long rosy orange beaks, their heads perpetually bent down. I am intrigued by the black ibis I see sometimes, but they have never come here. Do ibis have separate trees to roost in at night? I haven’t spotted them among the crowds at the nearby rookery, where herons, egrets and anhinga tussle for space, or at the pelican or spoonbill rookeries down the bay. Ibis do flock at evening, though; I used to watch a man feed them nightly at a pocket lake near a house I was staying in, and I followed the white waves of birds flying in. The sight was somehow always reassuring.
I’ve wandered in my musings from morning to night, it seems. Evening and night leave strong impressions too. Just days ago on the beach there was the huge full moon rising behind the dunes, across from the setting sun, as well as heat lightning firing up a huge cloud bank somewhere down the coast. I love the way people wave goodbye to the sun as it disappears into the water (those not stationed behind their phone cameras, anyway), though the best show is often afterwards, in the lingering pink/orange light. Nighttime, right out here behind the house, is sometimes punctuated by bursts of frog songs and call-and-response hoot owls, or occasionally the scream of some unknown animal trying not to be prey.
It’s still morning now, and I have somewhere to be, so it’s time to move on from this perch among the flowered cushions. Good to write it down, pulling the reverie even more into solidity, however fleeting. Thanks for sharing it with me.
I feel rich with the many wonderful things I come to know here every day--even though it's been years now, I am still delighting in the great sense of discovery about what grows, or about the sights and sounds around me in this Gulf coast environment. I'm so filled with it right now that can't seem to stop the sharing. Thus, in addition to this mornings' musings, I offer more photos that (hopefully) capture some of my delights. Check out the captions and the full views in the gallery below) (click on the image itself and it will open larger, with the caption), for I do explain what you're looking at. And look for surprises!
Sea hibiscus flower in its red stage (these start out yellow when they first come out!)