A thick layer of South Texas fog hovers over the town, making 7 am seem like 6 or 5 and dampening the spirits of the birds, which remain silent. Except for the roosters in the distance. The dogs, of course, don’t seem to mind either and their far-off barks sound fierce and threatening. To other people. The neighbor’s dangerous-looking but friendly dog, happy to see any evidence Of human activity, bounces over to my sister’a front porch where I am sipping the morning’s first cup of coffee and nibbling on a semi-hard biscuit left over from yesterday’s breakfast. He readily takes the piece of the biscuit that I give him but what he wants more than food is to be petted, human touch. Fooled by the fog, the street lights remain lit and they cast an eerie surreal glow on the trees and houses. The dog decides that the two cats copulating in the empty lot next door are more interesting and so he hurries off to rudely interrupt their moment of rapture. Few cars go by but the hum of traffic on other streets is steady and reassuring. A school bus stops at a house down the block and honks loudly, its yellow, orange and red lights blinking equally as loud. The lights are reflected on the shimmering leaves of a nearby bush and in the silvery tubes of a wind chime hanging from a sagging branch on the bush, making it look like a Christmas tree. The bus welcomes its little passenger and moves down the street to the house across the street where it repeats its ritual. Now the bus is gone, as are the street lamps, and the birds have suddenly come to life, chirping and tweeting furiously, as if to make up for lost time. My brother-in-law opens the door but does not join me on the porch. It’s cold, he says, and then turns around and walks back inside, closing the door behind him. And thus begins another late-January day in South Texas. In a few hours the sun will win its battle with the cloud cover and send it on its way, and the heat will settle in for the day, offering a mild preview of what is to come in the months ahead.

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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