I had really, really intended to stay home Sunday and take care of some long neglected housework.

I always tell Michael G., ‘You know what I hate about housework? You finish it one day and six months later, you have to do it again.’

Yeah, I’m that kind of housekeeper.

Honestly, though, I needed to vacuum, clean out the refrigerator and take trash out to the dumpster.

I had laundry to do and an upstairs bathroom that needed a good scrubbing.

I got up on Sunday morning and followed my daily ritual: coffee and an hour of writing in the upstairs room that was The Boy’s when he lived in Del Rio and which now serves as my writing/art studio.

The studio windows face east, and as soon as the sun came up and I saw that the morning was going to be perfect, all my carefully-laid housekeeping plans went out the window.

There was no way I was staying inside on a morning like this.

I got into the car and drove to Lt. Thomas Romanelli Memorial Park with a light and happy heart.

Arriving and stepping out of the car, I saw that I had not made a mistake.

It was an absolutely flawless morning. The sky was a faultless blue vault overhead, and the bright morning sun painted the landscape with a rich, golden light.

There was only the faintest breath of a breeze, and the cane hedge along the creek was alive with the sounds of birds, the scolding chatter of a White-eyed Vireo, the sharp tik!tik! of an alarmed Northern Cardinal, the high-pitched pik!pik!pik! of an Orange-crowned Warbler.

I walked across the footbridge and along the downstream end of the park, toward Ash Street.

I paused to listen to a group of American Robins conversing in the branches of a chinaberry tree. I tried to move quietly, but the footpath was carpeted with fallen sycamore leaves, and at my approach, the robins flew off.

The robins visit us during the winter, and so we look for them at a completely different time of year than most of the rest of the country.

In the north, the arrival of the American Robin means spring isn’t far away.

In the far south, the robins’ arrival heralds the approach of winter.

I found several other winter visitors as well: Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, several House Wrens and a Blue-headed Vireo.

I was glad that many of our winter birds are already here and making themselves at home among our equally fine complement of resident birds.

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