Down-slope winds off the Manzano Mountains to our west dance across the Llano Estacado tablelands. They carry a dry morning chill along with promises of a warm day. Fluffy flocks of clouds drift across a deep blue New Mexico firmament.
Cooper and I ease into the prairie amid a bird concerto. Escorts of barn swallow pause their insect pursuits to chatter and hover above this human and canine intruder of their hunting grounds. A burrowing owl bobs its head just above the rim of their residence in an abandoned prairie dog den. Its bright yellow eyes mark every move we make.
We continue with our haphazard trek across sandy terrain and a yucca forest. These stalwart knights of the Llano strut their evergreen, sword-shaped leaves and stalks. The latter reminiscent of trail markers. Cooper picks up scents of rabbits and prairie rodents. He executes carefully choreographed stalking episodes among the bayonet-sharp leaves of yucca rosettes. One brief chase materializes.
© Ilija Lukić 2011