schnauzer follies · Writers Write

Hepatic Tanager

On most days, Jasmine Tea Schnauzer and I walk in the park. The two-mile loop winds through the a dense forest of live oak, persimmon, limestone, and cactus. A crushed granite path crunches beneath our feet. It’s secluded, but we’re never alone. We have friends–joggers, bikers, and other dog walkers. Beanie, the English Bulldog, is enamoured with Jaz. Teddy, the Yorkie, isn’t.

This plot of real estate could have been the setting for a John Wayne movie. Now, it’s in the middle the city, a hold out from a by-gone time. Dairy cattle grazed here not long ago. The original owner, a widow living alone, wouldn’t sell to the developers who tacked up cardboard apartment buildings along the main drag. The dairy went under, but the land was valuable. A bank sent out a man to corral the cows and convince the lady to sell. He was inept. She was smart. She wanted to stay in her clapboard farm-house. He failed like one of those slick visitors to Green Acres or Petticoat Junction or Mayberry. A local judge convinced her to will the farm to the city.

This is where I saw the Hepatic Tanager. He shouldn’t live here. It’s too far east, a little too far north, and usually, too humid. Chalk that up to climate change. Smaller than a cardinal, the bird sings a familiar song, a long single note.

Isn’t it great? She wouldn’t take the money.

Photo, courtesy of Creative Commons.

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