by cheri sabraw
The quail pair doesn’t see me sitting so still on the patio, sipping my iced vanilla coffee, undetected. She, under an overgrown Bottlebrush shrub, pecking away for plant bits and seeds and he, parading across my line of sight like a shooting gallery target at the Midway of my youth.
Back and forth he bobs, his six-feathered black plume rising and falling like a Drinking Bird. He calls to his female admirers down by the Spanish Oak, “Chi-ca-go, Chi-ca-go.” She scolds him for showing off. He puts out a pip and another harsh one: she responds dutifully, following behind him, like an East Indian old woman, draped in a sari, trailing behind her husband on their daily walk to the market.
The blood-orange bougainvillea blossoms, now faded to a dull pink rose color, having fallen only yesterday in a hot wind, swirl around at the mercy of the dry breeze. They scrape along the concrete, like potato-chip butterflies, listing on their sides. At the far side of the patio they come to rest for now, in a festive gathering, unaware that by tomorrow, they will be dead and part of the rock garden.
The bunnies rest in the shade of a non-descript bush, hopping nervously out onto the hot rocks, nibbling the sparse vegetation in mini-bites, and returning to the safety of the canopy. I am tempted to put out a piece of celery.
Was that a Greater Roadrunner that just ran by?
I must be more observant.