So, the past week or so I've been in Arkansas (and nearby parts of Louisiana and Texas) enjoying a string of get-togethers with family.
And as usual these visits south also include connecting with touchtones like visiting my father's grave and going by the vacant lot where the family home used to be.
I met some wary but ultimately friendly cats, including at last making the acquaintance of my sister's cat Kashmir (which just goes to show that I'm not the only one in this family to give a cat a name from classic rock, in this case Led Zeppelin).
Among things I was on the lookout for were mimosas (one of my favorite trees) and magnolias (which do); I saw these but I had forgotten how beautiful the pecan trees were.
I was on the lookout for locusts (cicadas) but was there a bit too early. Didn't see any June bugs, or lightning bugs, though my mother saw one of the latter.
Birds were in fine feather: mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, of course. But also buzzards (I'd forgotten how big they are, any they're much less shy than they used to be, calmly sitting by the side of the road doing their scavenging while a foot or two away the cars whiz by). And once again I noted but failed to identify those loquacious birds who hang out at the Love's truckstop at Prescott: blackbirds, certainly, but too large and agile for grackles and too small for a crow; not red-winged blackbirds or startlings.
reading on the trip: DOROTHY & JACK, Steinbeck (restarted), THE LONG WEEKEND (but not the one I was looking for).