As I rolled along the little riparian nature trail, I came upon an armadillo, snuffling in the leaves. It was about five or six feet from me. Its nose was entirely beneath dead leaves, and it hoovered along, in search of whatever food it is that armadillos seek under leaves.
I did not come too close, as a lack of caution in an animal can in very rare instances signal rabies. But eventually, the armadillo noted my presence, and took off running. Then I came to a part of the trail in which I was surrounded on all sides by flitting, floating, and hopping robins. I like this part of December on this trail, when I can see so many robins so near me all at once that the effect is rather like a French film of a generation ago, except that in the film the robins would symbolize the triumph of the worker or the bliss in the quest for infinity, while in Rowlett Nature Preserve, in Garland, Texas, they merely symbolize the joy of crisp cool days and year-round birds. As I finished the trail, I saw two more armadillo, snufflings leaves, oblivious to people.
This is becoming part of the holiday season for me--a crisp, 50-degree day, the stark look of bare trees on a nature trail, and the
gorgeous chaos of surrounding robins, spiced with a cardinal and a finch or so, as I walk for half an hour, nearly alone in the park, on a December day.