Today is the first day of October. Clouds have rolled in and it's been sprinkling on and off all morning. The cloud cover will probably burn off by the afternoon as there are already clear spots in the sky where the sun is trying to peek through.
We are on our way to the refuge and I couldn't be happier. Even on a Thursday, the freeway is busy and full of semi-trucks hauling their loads up and down the interstate. As we draw closer to the refuge, I feel the excitement bubble up in my chest. Sure, I can see birds in my own backyard, but there's something exhilarating about being out in the wild wide open where you aren't sure what species you're going to see next. (And there aren't any egrets in my back yard either!)
After nearly six months of summer and triple digit temperatures, the rain (however little) is a welcome sight. The closer we get to the refuge, the fewer the clouds. We pass by farms, orchards, hay fields, and acres of undeveloped land. By the time we reach the entrance, the clouds are breaking apart and the foothills are clearly visible on the horizon. The rainy morning is just a memory now.
The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge waits for us with its gorgeous views, myriad birds, and endless inspiration.
Welcome, it says.
I can hear the word clearly on the gentle wind that rustles through the tall grasses and reeds. And I can hear it on the wings of the mighty hawk as it soars above us, searching for its prey...