The morning air is crisp and cold. There is still a pink glow in the eastern sky. I cross a dry creek bed, then climb up a rise and surprise a covey of quail. They dash about on prissy feet refusing to fly, determined to preserve their dignity, looking ridiculous -- but I don’t tell them that. They deserve some respect, after all. It’s freezing out here, and yet here they are, all fluffed out, keeping warm together. We could learn from these bird brains.