The North Central Texas autumn is a subtle event. It doesn’t have any fireballs of maple or quakings of aspen. It doesn’t announce itself with a blustery nor’easter or a precipitous drop of temperature. It comes with a few mornings of fog, a ring around the moon and a bit more dew on the grass, the occasional frost on the windshield or an extra night of wind. A brief visual survey of high school students or grocery shoppers shows an equal number of puffy jackets and t-shirts, but even so, life goes on without the dramatic changes taking place in more northern climes.
Even in the weeks after Thanksgiving, the general impression of the landscape is green. Most of the leaves are still on the trees and the cedars and junipers will remain green. There is a curious species of tree called a live oak, a deciduous tree that is also considered evergreen. Rather than lose their leaves all at once, live oaks will drop leaves year-round, though mostly in the spring when other trees’ leaves return.
This year, because of a period of heavy rain at the tail-end of summer and the whimsical schedule for cutting and drying and baling, there are squares of hay fields that are the kelly green of Ireland, and the mesquite trees in front of my house still hide their balls of mistletoe. Individually, some of the oaks vary from a brightly burnished copper to deep carmine; but overall, there is a fading of green into the golds and grays of winter.
Usually I luxuriate in the nuances of the changing seasons, but not this year. No, this year I would like to see Mother Nature and Father Time join hands and sprint to the solstice, push through the holidays and ring in the new year, toss an ice storm at Texas and then call winter done, so they can strew the fields with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush again. I know better, of course, and I will have to be patient.
Here’s wishing everyone a very merry holiday season when it comes. As usual, it will be over before we know it.