By MARY ALICE MURPHY
About the time winter officially arrived on the calendar, and a few days before, the temperatures plummeted to chilly.
As I write this, the skies are totally overcast, with the hint of snow in the air, and on www.weather.com. Tomorrow, New Year's Eve is predicted to be a wet one, especially in the morning, but clearing up later in the day for those of you who have celebratory plans for the evening.
Since we at our house are not planning any fancy do for the evening, we'll be happy to stay warm inside. My wish for the New Year is to have mounds of snow dump on the mountains, with smaller amounts in the lower elevations. The drought we have been suffering through for the past several years requires large amounts of precipitation to renew the thirsty ground, trees and plants.
Other than recently seeing about a dozen Gambel's quail visit the birdbath and clean up all the seeds beneath the feeders, not many noteworthy birds have visited us. I did see a rufous-sided Towhee a few days ago, sipping from the almost frozen birdbath. Most mornings, I have to pour hot water over the ice, so the birdies can get a drink.
I haven't even seen many hawks around this year. Are they fewer in number or am I just not seeing many? Usually by now, I will see hawks soar overhead when I'm outside. Ah, maybe that's the explanation. Since it's been chilly, short of taking our dog, Jackie, for brief walks to do her business, I haven't been outside much.
About the middle of December, on a chilly Saturday morning, Wreaths Across America was held at Fort Bayard National Cemetery. More than 500 wreaths were placed on graves to honor those who lived and died at Fort Bayard and the veterans who have since been laid to rest there. I had to purchase fuel for my car before I could head that far down the road (I know it's just a few miles, but I didn't want to risk running out of gas.). Due to my lateness, I missed a sighting that excited many of those who were earlier than I. A bald eagle flew over the memorial at the cemetery. Those who saw it said the sun flashed off the white throat of the eagle as it soared overhead, did a turn and left the area. They felt it was also in honor of veterans who have served to preserve the freedoms of America.
As we prepare to say goodbye to 2012, let us hope and pray for a happier and more prosperous 2013 for those of us privileged to live in the greatest country on Earth.
Brave the chill, and get outdoors to see the marvels that Mother Nature has provided to us.
I would love to hear your nature tales at justcallmeMAM@grantcountybeat.com.
May your musings bring you beauty!