First there was the sun, rising in the notch just minutes after 7 a.m., rising as far south as it will get this year (oops! I meant north, I’ve made this mistake before, wonder why?). Now, slowly, it will climb back up the hill to the right, pass the microwave tower on the top, drop back down into the next notch, then climb and climb until it almost reaches the top of Santaquin Peak, where it will rest on the winter solstice.
So far so good.
Late in the afternoon, a cool, sunny afternoon that felt like you hope mid-June ought to feel — easy and inviting and even a little invigorating — and then a hellacious screeching brought us out onto the deck. At least four black-headed grosbeaks were doing everything they could to chase two big magpies away from a nest.
We had seen the nest and its two baby occupants a few days earlier, just off a trail through the oak brush to the west of the house. Now we ran out to help chase away the murderous magpies.
It was too late.
The male grosbeak, to end this with a bit of good news, was singing his head off the next morning on the top branch of a maple, figuring, I think, that there’s still time for a new brood.