In winter, I watch the hunters.
The constellation Orion, the hunter, hangs in the eastern night sky as I drive home after dark. The trees are stripped of leaves; the cold air is dry and clear. The stars are brighter in a bigger sky. Orion’s bright stars and distinctive formation dominate the winter sky. I ponder the hunter, trapped in the dark sky as he searches for sustenance in the harsh winter.
The bald eagles, driven south by the cold, soar along the shore of Oologah Lake hunting for prey. It’s the winter that drives them to Oklahoma. They search for bodies of water that aren’t frozen.
I hate snow and cold, but I love the stars and bald eagles. They provide consolation in the bleak, dry landscape.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that Orion had slipped to the western sky. The bald eagles had vanished.
Yellow came first to the Oklahoma landscape. Daffodils burst forth, their bright yellow cups waving wildly in the fierce spring winds. Forsythia branches formed arches of sun yellow in the brown landscape.
Then the Bradford pear trees offered up their mountains of white blooms, followed by bright chartreuse foliage.
Now, the color is purple. Redbuds, dormant since last fall’s drought, return to life with soft little pink-purple flowers. The vinca add a touch a blue-violet with their blooms. Grape hyacinths contribute a darker purple.
But the most colorful of all is the henbit. These ugly weeds fill our lawns and roadsides with a plush carpet of purple.
Nature’s hunters have vanished along with the cold. Nature’s painters have arrived, decorating our environment with the colors of spring.