Tasajillo and mesquite at sunset on the J.M. Merlo Ranch in San Saba County in the Texas Cross Timbers.
The intermittent breeze was faint, but it was enough to separate the leaves from the cedar elms and send them cascading to the ground in irregular spirals. Monarchs and other butterflies whose names I don’t know danced in the air around me as I watched the light grow ever warmer on the tasajillo, mesquite, and bee brush before me. Over the past few days the bee brush had erupted in bloom, thanks to recent rains, and its faint aroma was pleasant. Eventually one of the monarchs landed on a nearby sunflower and spent several minutes feeding on its nectar. As I watched it I realized I had been missing such simple pleasures, causing me to lament how little time I’ve spent outdoors this year.