We awoke to a fourth day of pleasant weather, proof of either a weather pattern, flooding in San Antonio, or a merciful God. We drove the hour out to Park Hill Prairie, the county park of "pure untouched" blackland prairie. We were the only ones there at first, other than myriads of birds, who sang like a choir audition. We looked through binoculars at a cool brown customer with a good song, a brown body and a yellow crest(I think he was either eastern meadowlark or dickcissel, but I gotta get out the Stokes bird book). Sulphur butterfiles flitted everywhere, and each stride we took caused hundreds of grasshoppers to launch as if were we missile planes releasing payloads of grasshopper.
The park people apparently use a huge tractor to cut a giant green swatch in the prairie for hiking. The tractor had not run in some weeks, because the grass was rather high. The lower parts are filled with crayfish mounds, so the hiking was a bit uneven. Flowers and seed pods were everywhere, mixed among tall grasses.
We had the entire park virtually to ourselves, but later appeared one fellow in an old rusted American car, whose red husky-looking dog sat and watched us as if we were rare prairie dickcissel birds. I love that feeling of being miles away from crowds, from hassle, from stress, from concrete. Distant cows on adjoining fields are my favorite "crowds".
We passed by the two fishing ponds at the park, and I thought it was just as well that my wife had decided to come and I would forego fishing because the ponds were so high that cane pole fishing would have been difficult given the extensive shallows. I like to cane pole fish more than use real gear these days, as it helps me connect somehow with my childhood. We marveled once again at the field in which the single emu doth lie down with the kid goats just beside the prairie park.
On the way back, we noted all the bunting and empty storefronts in downtown Farmersville, population 2300, birthplace of Audie Murphy, I believe, and we stopped at Shipley Doughnuts, which I always, parenthetically, prefer to Krispy Kreme. We saw a giant great blue heron flying overhead as we emerged from the doughnut shop. He was glorious, simply glorious.
Everywhere on the country highway home, folks were selling fireworks. In particular, the signs everywhere touted something called an "artillery shell" for the sum of 2 dollars and 98 cents. I did not stop to ask about the potential for shrapnel.
When we got on highway 121 near our home, we passed flowing fields of 3/4 high corn, some of it browning, in that "wait until you thought you were safe before I die" way that corn has. Then we passed a HUGE solid field of 5 foot high sunflowers, a yellow paradise, and I remembered I lived in Texas again.