I wrote Monday about the virtues of living in Austin, Texas, of the benefit of green spaces, and being out and about in nature within the city. There are, however, a few cons when it comes to living here, and it's one of those that I would like to pontificate upon tonight.
Austin (Central Texas in general, really), though mild in climate throughout most of the year, is conversely a dry, hot, barren place to hang your hat in summer. The Yanks who come here think native Texans are crazy for fantasizing about living in the north. They say that it's easy to glorify the idea without the knowledge of the brutal, bitter winters. Regardless of what the Yankees say, I am not a fan of Texas in summer, and quite frankly, I'm pretty exhausted at the prospect of facing another one.
Already daytime temperatures climb into the 90's, and this weekend triple digits are expected. It's June for crying out loud! The first day of summer hasn't even passed and we are faced with 100+ degree temperatures, little to no prospect of rain, which means dry creeks and dead plant life early in the season. Central Texas will be its typical lifeless, yellow, crumbling, dry self once again. Truly summers here can be as desolate as winters in other places. I suppose people choose to see what they want. If you have a boat and get close to the lake, then blue skies are all you need. And there's plenty of those around here. But rainfall being what it has been, and lake levels being what they are, this may be the second season in 5 years that even the prospect of cooling off on the lake will be hampered by the dry, dead conditions. From the heights of Lago Vista above the lake, it already appears as thought the lake has shrunk by 30%. How much longer 'till one can walk across, ala Jesus? Yet three years ago it rained like hell for the entire summer, and it was a glorious season. The creeks and lakes were filled with water, the hiking was splendid, and the growing things stayed greener much longer. Sadly this is a rare occurrence here, and the crunch of dead, yellow grass underfoot is the norm.
I write this as a deluge befalls Austin, because it is a reminder to me what it might feel like to live in a place with a normal climate. A place that experiences four clearly defined seasons. I'd like to know what that feels like someday. And though I may never be able to leave my family and friends behind for another state or country (not permanently leastwise), I have considered the prospect of having two residences. One here for the spring and winter, and another in the northeast for summer and fall.
I guess I will always be that farm boy looking out across the desert at a twin sunset, imagining what it would be like to live in other, exotic places. To travel and to see and experience things unknown or merely suggested to me. But what the hell is wrong with that?
I can just hear John Williams' score swelling in the background. Can't you?
Think about it, people.