Place Where You Live:

Houston, Texas

Giant cumulus scud in a generally northwest direction, tacking against the southwest wind like the galleons that once sailed into Galveston Bay.

Huge, hundred-year-old loblolly pines, only one conifer generation removed from their virgin ancestors, sift the air, their rounded green tops slowly swaying to some long-forgotten Pleistocene tune.

Summer, officially born a few days ago, has grown up with a hissing quickness in this little bedroom of Houston, twenty or so miles from the bawdy and boisterous epicenter of that now fourth largest city in the country.

Lethargy, born of calidity, infects the living, as stove-hot concrete meets arboreal sultriness. Herds of deer, munching St. Augustine turf and wildflowers along roadsides, casually greet daily commuters. The deer slowed by the fieriness of the earth and the sun, barely look up. The commuters oblivious in their air-conditioned encasements, try to make the next light.

A pair of eagles dip into a man-made lake to capture their daily meal. Nesting in a large nearby stand of pine, they view their surroundings with a practiced indifference, already human-wise.

Over near where I live, a very large red-shouldered hawk hunkers down in the top of an oak, waiting for some gregarious squirrel. A worried –looking pair of black-bellied whistling ducks take their brood through my back yard, and a hairy woodpecker stops regularly for a happy hour drink at the hummingbird feeder.

Several people have seen the coyote-red wolf crossbreeds, all that is left of the extirpated red wolf. They saw the animals standing  eerily in the woodlands that meander through the lawns and backyards. Deer munch St. Augustine turf and wildflowers along the roadsides.

A farmer has discovered cougar tracks just north of here, and another was sited just southwest of here, a scant 20 miles as a crow flies or a puma hunts.

Larger cumulus, outskirts of a Gulf storm, fly in, and pelt the earth with their cooling shrapnel. Animals drink, relishing the break from the dry swelter. A freckled girl, standing in the rain, gleefully reels in a blue gill from a pond. Steam rises from the asphalt.