Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Five cottontail rabbits and cacti blooming

This morning I alternated between sleep, television and on-line blitz chess. When it turned noon, I hit the road to the roasted pollo place in McKinney. My waitperson did not speak English, and I speak far too little Spanish, but a bit of menu pointing and good will got us awkwardly through my meal. I'm completely enrapt by the book about small town Japanese life I've been reading. The first person stories, from the geishas through the magistrate's wife through the rice and tofu makers, really intrigue me. I like it when someone writes down oral history that way.

I began to drive aimlessly northwest of the city. I found myself in Tioga, a small town whose regionally famous BBQ I again by-passed.
I had my bearings, and found myself driving towards gorgeous Lake Ray Roberts. I detoured when I saw a country road sign saying that Gainesville was only 12 miles. Gainesville is in Cooke County, and is a regional center for horseraising folks. I wanted to sample the wares of the well-known fried pie shop in downtown Gainesville.
Alas, the shop, though still in business, was closed on Sundays. I made a mental note to arrive some Saturday when it first opens at 7 a.m., so that I might sample the freshest pies.

I drove on down to Lake Ray Roberts, which is in the "cross timbers" forest region. Although stereotypically, the further west one drives from Collin County, the more prairie-like things become, the cross timbers woodlands are an exception to this rule. It's a nice mix of hardwoods of various kinds--oaks, elms, and understory, along with a sprinkling of pines.

Lake Ray Roberts has a nice walking/biking trail through the heart of woodlands. I took an hour's walk, during which hour I spotted five cottontail rabbits; one lizard who must have been at least a foot from head to tail, though very slender and slow-going; a question-mark butterfly; several buckeye butterflies; blooming Indian blanket flowers with their flowers red tinged with yellow; Indian paintbrush flowers, with their orange stalks; several prickly pear cacti in bloom, with each flower a huge yellow affair the size of my fist; and many black vultures, looking somehow out of place.
Two of the cottontail rabbits were young bunnies, who stood, unmoving, until I was just a few feet away. I found myself telling them that it was okay, but that they should go and hide.

I drove the hour's trip home on farm roads and obscure little highways. Everywhere in the fields I saw tall, green grasses, horses, burros, longhorn cattle, and signs for ranches. I loved the apploosa horse farm I saw early in the day--apaloosas look so good as to be unreal to me.

I thought to myself about living in the moment--about a needlessly thoughtless unkind thing I said last night to my spouse, about the importance of soaking in and absorbing the colors and sights and the sheer relaxation of it all.

It's been a good weekend. I may work a little this evening, but I'm glad I rested a bit.

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