Yesterday evening I walked from W 24th Street to W 3rd. Construction has closed the trail from W 3rd to Lady Bird Lake, so for at least the next several months I am forced to return home via W 3rd.
Last night winter traded places with spring for a few hours. A low pressure center transiting north Texas sucked moisture from the Gulf into the Shoal Creek area. This resulted in a meteorological train wreck. For several hours we were treated to a pyrotechnical display of spectacular proportions. Rapid-fire lightning sparkled through the bedroom, and thunder slammed windows and drove the cats under the beds. The Austin airport received a record 5.66 inches of rain; we received 3.3 inches at our home on Shoal Creek.
Houston is a city with little past left to preserve. The Heights is an exception, and even there it is poverty that left many of the homes ripe for restoration. Houston would rather scrape than preserve (West University Place and Bellaire come to mind).
The drought of 2011, threatening to become the drought of 2012, has laid waste to Texas woodlands. We didn’t have that many trees to begin with. The NY Times reports:
Estimates from the Texas Forest Service show that the yearlong drought may have claimed as many as a half-billion trees. The state has a tree population of about 4.9 billion. Researchers have determined that 100 million to 500 million trees, or from 2 to 10 percent of all trees, have been lost.
January in Austin is winter-lite. We may get a couple of freezes; some years we have none. We see ice and snow as often as we see Elvis.
This afternoon Virginia and I hiked the creek to baste in the 65 degree weather. The rains of December have greened the creek and parks nicely. The brownway of summer is back to the greenway we love.