For the moment we are staying in McKinney, Texas with Mark and Cora, my brother and sister-in-law. It is hot by our Fort Yukon standard with temperatures in the 90’s/30’s but this is quite nice for Texas. Birds sing all day long; in fact, they are absolutely symphonic. Cardinals pipe, jays complain, doves mourn and crows caw. I always liked crows. Of course, the mockingbird leads all the rest. It is the state bird of Texas, a pretender, always mimicking the other birds. It has plenty to say and never seems to repeat itself.
Mark and Cora took a run down old ramshackle that nobody else wanted and converted it into a dream home which they paid for with their own blisters and sweat and time. The flowers above were photographed in the backyard garden where long ago nothing existed but a crumbling concrete storm shelter rising out of bare earth and unpleasant weeds. Now they share this revival with their church friends and often have as many as seventy people at a time over to enjoy the beauty of their haven. Texas likes to boast about its hospitality but that quality doesn’t belong to a place, it belongs to hard working and giving people like Mark and Cora.