Our weather has been delightful this past week since it tried to rain, three days of clouds stacked against the Sierras, some thick and dark shrouding our bare foothills but bringing little moisture. For two months we’ve been discussing signs of an early fall, though not convinced that the sycamores may be turning early due to the drought or that Dry Creek ran only 30 days last season, peaking a 12 cfs on April 27th, not enough to contribute to the Kaweah River three miles downstream.
Moods have lifted with the change in temperature as we look for signs of encouragement. The Rock Wrens are back, debugging the window screens. The first Pin Tails and Mallards have arrived on our irrigation ponds. Quail and Bobcats move closer to the house. It’s a perfect time of year for the outdoor shower as the sun dips behind the ridge leaving a wild assortment of yellows between the long shadows of our fruit trees.
And the Tarantulas are moving, beginning to dodge traffic on Dry Creek Road. They have become totems of sorts to most ranchers, precursors to rain. Short of reverence, we reserve a special place for them on our list of wild things, swerve around them on the road. Even shower with them, if need be, rather than disturb them.
Naked before her, I found it interesting with my eyes closed, rinsing the shampoo lather from my hair, that I worried more about stepping on her than any other contact, as if she could leave her perch beneath the soap dish and get underfoot in just a few seconds of my not-seeing. Thinking, I suspect, she was hidden, she didn’t budge, and after the stress of two dry years, none of us is looking for trouble these days.