I need to take time and tell you about the past week. Well, maybe not about the past seven days, but about the place I have been staying the past seven days. If they’d let me, I might even consider spending a lifetime here.
It’s beautiful here, even if it did rain the past two days. Maybe especially since it did rain the past two days. This is an oasis in the middle of the desert. To the south is the Mojave Desert. To the north is the Great Basin Desert. Between these two arid environments sits the Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge. It’s not only a place for the animals, but also a place for man. A place to rejuvenate.
A little over 50 years ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated this area as a refuge. It’s located on the Pacific Flyway and is a natural resting spot for waterfowl and songbirds during their migratory flights, both north and south. There are over 560 such designated places around the United States. I can’t imagine all of them are as nice, though.
There are very few camping spots here, and if you get so lucky as to secure one, you are limited to a 14 day stay. Where I’m parked I can see a definite desert on one side and water and greenery on the other. The trees are trying to change their color, and there are quite a few birds here. Of course there is. It’s a flyway. Butterflies still flutter through the air, however the reptiles have taken cover. The temperature is dropping.
Two days ago I almost brought a friend home. I was out taking a short walk, without a camera, of course, before the rains began, and happened across a mama deer and her young un. It seems the small deer was a late birth. Not late as in late in mama’s life, but late as in late in the season. This little guy was hanging close to mom, who was laying in the shady protection of one of the alamos that surround the lake here.
This young deer began following me as I walked by. When I stopped, it stopped. I would take another couple of steps, and it would take a couple of steps in my direction. I thought for sure it was going to follow me home. That would be a problem. I’d have to house break the danged thing. And, I’m sure I don’t enough food in the house for both of us. But, once I got so far the little guy stopped and stared. I guess it had limits as to how far it could stray. Through it all, mama deer laid under the tree and watched us.
It was surprising how close I got to these wild animals without startling them. Back in June when I was here the wildlife seemed a bit more jumpy. Since there is no deer hunting allowed here I guess mom has learned that she’s perfectly safe here. I’ve seen the same thing in a National Park, but it surprised me here.
I mentioned earlier that it had rained the past two days. It settled the dust very nicely. At least for a few more hours. And, daily the temperature is dropping. It was 39 at 5:30 this morning when I rolled out of bed. That made it 41 in the house. I didn’t turn on the furnace before I retired for the night. Temperatures like that tend to get a person moving rather rapidly. You have to just to stay warm. And yell at the coffee in an effort to get it to brew quicker—which doesn’t work.
Four weeks ago I began growing a beard. I was thinking that it might keep my pink cheeks warm this winter. It helps, but not that much. I think I need to grow these whiskers on my toes, or I should switch my sandals for boots and wear heavy socks. I had a beard when I was much younger, but there wasn’t any gray in it. Now, well just take a look. Somewhere in the past couple of decades I’ve gotten old. Or, maybe just my whiskers have gotten old.
So, here’s my dilemma. Do I keep the beard for the winter, or should I just move on down to Matamoros and try to keep from getting sunburned?
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.