We each measure the change of seasons by different sounds in nature’s symphony. For those who live near White Rock Lake in Dallas, summer’s chimes at midnight ring with the arrival of the first American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) who will overwinter here.
This weekend, two of these magnificent birds marked the quieting of the world under the guise of autumn’s undressing and the lull to sleep of winter’s coming song. More will follow, and too will come the falcons and hawks and eagles, the vireos and warblers and sparrows, and the legion vast of migrating musicians who bring with them an orchestra of change.
Already thousands of monarch butterflies fill the air with wings that tremble the earth with drumbeats we scarcely hear. Hummingbirds amass like maestros leading a band of merry players along the road to warmer climes. And pelicans rest their weary wings in an amphitheater welcoming of their artistic gift.
Some of these travelers will offer their songs only as they pass through on their way to stages further south, but many will remain here and will bring with them a performance that warms us in the coldest months.
The players are seated. The audience is hushed. The houselights have dimmed.