It is really cold. It is below freezing in Austin and they are predicting snow again tonight. This is so unusually cold for Texas. Last year it was 40° warmer on January 2nd. It feels somewhat symbolic, as I am certainly in a mentally colder place.
AUSTIN TEXAS TEMPERATURE HISTORY
However, I have to acknowledge that there are some benefits to the cold air. I have been able to wear all my Warm Welsh Pullovers. There is a definite functional purpose to lighting a wood fire, not just because I like the look of real flames. I also feel like eating the hearty soups and stews that I know how to cook far better than enchiladas and queso. My menu planner is a throw back to the UK – Leek and potato soup and fresh bread, beef stew and dumplings, chicken pie, delicious comfort food.
As I drink my coffee and read the weather forecast I regard the outside dubiously. The sky is gun metal grey. The deer huddle together on the ground.
Perhaps my dog would manage with a brief walk around the block? But he sits up and looks up at me expectantly and starts to wag his tail. So because he is hard to resist like that I decide we will do a ‘proper’ walk on a trail with a creek for him to splash in and plants for him to sniff. Furthermore because my second resolution was to try new things (From different fruits to different places) I decide I will not just go out but will go exploring. So I drive my bright blue Toyota Rav 4 to an empty car park at the start of a walking trail that I have never done: The Inga Van Nynatten Memorial Trail. It’s one that we have driven by at least twice a week for nearly two years. My New Year’s resolution in mind I finally actually stop and walk it today.
Its beautiful, empty and peculiarly Austin: in that it combines wildness and a creek with views towards a 4 lane highway. I still have my zoom lens on from photographing the deer so its hard to take an overall vista of the walk. Instead I focus in on details. First of the water in the creek as it burbles and tumbles over and around the ancient rocks.
Then, what my mum would have loved most, – the plants I pass: the bright red and golds of the oak leaves, the almost purple fans of shrub leaves, the sharp thorned Cactus, the ash grey pealing bark oaks and bright green succulents.