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The quail, the roadrunner and me

Mary Man's RA Journal Icon

Journal 01/27/2022

Our weather is cold, 36⁰F, 2.2⁰C. Sunny. Blue sky. Dry mountain air. Many people think that since we are in the  Southwest, we would be warmer in the winter. Our altitude is close to a mile high. It is mountain desert weather. When the sun goes down, there is nothing to keep the warmth of the day. Our nights are cold in the teens and our days in the thirties. In July we are high nineties and sixty-five to seventy at night.

I enjoy the colder weather because I can turn on my gas fireplace. The room becomes a cozy refuge. A good place to be. Outside my son keeps our bird feeders full so we have a steady stream of Gambel quail, house finch, sparrows,  mourning dove looking for seed. Then there is the Greater Roadrunner looking for birds to eat.

They are powerful and aggressive. They have large beaks and large claws. They move fast. Intimidating.  I’ve seen them tear a bird apart. They have no fear. They own the earth. The roadrunner is at the top of the food chain and the quail at the bottom. Quail travel in groups. I’ve seen nine little chicks grow into teenagers and then into robust adults. Quail are  hunted in New Mexico. Survival is a challenge on many fronts. So far, the quail in my yard are safe.  No human hunters. But then,  there are the roadrunners. Life is uncertain for all of us.

Today was an important day for me. I traded in my driver’s license for an ID card.

I haven’t driven for several years. I stopped when I understood that my numb feet couldn’t feel the foot pedals on my MiniCooper. Stick shift. It was scary. I don’t miss it.

I got my driver’s license when I was twenty-two. My family didn’t have a car.  I didn’t learn. I bought my first car on a learner’s permit. Practiced. Took the exam. Passed and have driven ever since. I had an international driver’s license while I lived in Europe and drove on the autobahn. I have driven cross country several times. I am done. Happy to travel as a passenger. A milestone.

Life goes on for me as it does for my quail friends. We live our daily lives doing what is natural.  Staying clear of the bumps in the road.  Enjoying the sunshine. Being grateful we avoided the roadrunner for another day.

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