Spring is a temptress

by Dave Williams

I don’t like bright sunlight and hot afternoons.

I don’t understand people who love summer, the hotter the better. That makes no sense at all.

I’m a pluviophile though I don’t know why.

I was born and raised in the heat of the Sacramento Valley and that was fine when I was a kid. Children in my day paid scant attention to sweat, dirt and scraped knees. But by the time I was too old to run through the neighbors’ lawn sprinklers I began dreading summer.

For me spring is a sinister warning of what’s to come

For the past forty years or so I’ve tried hard to find a radio job in cold, wet and perfectly dreary Seattle or Portland. I love the Pacific Northwest with its year-round sweatshirts, smokey chimneys and soggy green everything but I could never get a job there.

Instead, I landed in Texas.

Everything you’ve ever heard about Texas weather is true. We have 60 degree swings in 12 hours. We get heat, snow, flash floods and tornadoes, sometimes all in one week.

I’ve seen hailstones pounding my yard on a 100 degree day.

Summer in Texas begins in April and lasts until Thanksgiving. It is a withering, humid, debilitating heat. If it weren’t for the otherworldly buzzing of cicadas hidden in native oaks you’d swear there was no life on the planet during the heat of a Texas summer afternoon.

Nights cool down to maybe 85.

So, here it is mid-March. I know what’s coming and I dread it.

But, for today only, I must confess: spring is beautiful and reinvigorating, even for a pluviophile in Texas.

We have the biggest sky I’ve ever seen. In spring we have our famous bluebonnets painting hills and prairies stretching to every horizon.

We have colts and calves romping in green pastures and baby bunnies learning to hide for their lives from their many flying predators.

Mesquite smoke flavors the air as folks throw big slabs of brisket onto chunk charcoal before dawn.

Texas kids are back on the lawn.

It’s an early spring Saturday morning in Texas and it gives me pleasure. Yes, it does.

Still, I know what’s coming.

 

Season of storms and Bluebonnets

Near Covington TX, March 17, 2018 Photo bu Jeff Stephens, The Backroads of Texas Facebook group.

This is not a tornado but it might have turned into one if conditions had been just slightly different yesterday. The photo is pure Texas in the spring.

Here’s another one taken yesterday near Lampasas. This is called a supercell. You don’t see these everywhere, mainly in tornado alley. You really don’t want to see one up close and personal. But again, this is not a tornado, though it can give them birth.

Near Lampasas, TX, March 17-2018 Photo by Jessica Price – Backroads of Texas Facebook Group

When you live in Texas you learn more about weather than you need to know in California.  Spring and fall are severe storm seasons. They can throw softball size hailstones at us, spawn terrifying tornadoes and create brief straight-line winds up to 100 mph on what was a hot, sunny day just a few minutes earlier.

Most Texans don’t seem terribly concerned by any of this. Here in Tornado Alley there are darned few storm shelters and nobody has a basement or cellar. Crazy, right?¬†There’s just something inherently Texan about being a cockeyed optimist and at the same time shrugging off fate.

If your time is up, it’s up.

Photo by Abby Gordon,
https://www.facebook.com/texasbluebonnetsightings/

But spring in Texas is also time of dazzling natural beauty, when the prairies bloom into a heavenly landscape of wildflowers. Chief among them is the Blue Bonnet, the state flower of Texas.

I don’t know anyone here that would give up either extreme.

The essence of Texas is a sense of wonder built of challenges overcome.