Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn in the Piney Woods of Southeast Texas

That signature crisp feel in the air.  The deeper blue in the sky at night.  Cooler, darker mornings that make you wish you could spend your life snuggled down in bed.  It's been here, and then backed away as if trying to decide whether to proceed or not.  Autumn came on the calender near the end of September and it has been flirting with us in reality ever since.  Today I thought I'd share some of the rich beauty of our local autumn with you in a few pictures.

There you have it!  This is at the top of the hill headed into the Jack Gore Baygall unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve.  Looks very similar to the foliage in spring and summer.  By nature, our woods are made up mostly of pine, cedar, holly and oak.  The live oak keeps leaves all year.  So all year round you have green.  No eye catching, breath taking color here.  The exact tint of green changes to a degree, but there is no flaming red or brilliant orange.

But we do have the bright sun shinny yellow hues of the rag weed in most every square inch of land left to stand idle.  Which the brisk fall breezes pick up pollen from and deliver to our noses so that suddenly, "God bless you!" is the most often heard phrase around.  (Wonder if we said it more often without the sneezes if God would curb the ragweed for us?!)  Thanks to this plant, when we open our windows and try to save on the electric bill as the humidity finally slides below 70%, we awake in the night to find ourselves feeling as if we are drowning in drainage and arise in the morning to nauseated stomach.  Benedryl sales skyrocket.

We do have a sprinkling of pale yellow that sweeps through in some spots that are populated with sycamore, sweet gum or pecan.  The green fades out to that pale yellow and then quickly turns to brittle brown as the leaves float down and pad the ground.  Of course that cursed plant that came here from abroad and cannot be successfully rooted out, the talla tree does have the redeeming trait of bringing us our only reds and crimsons to be found on the horizon.  I have always wanted a red maple planted in the yard, just so I could enjoy the bright fall color it would yield.  But, alas, we've never gone and purchased one.  Perhaps one of the children might make a Mother's Day gift of one next year.  When I'm old and feeble they can wheel me out and sit me in front of it and amuse me for hours.

Simply put, if you want the splendor of fall foliage, Southeast Texas is not your place to get it.  Stick to New England.  But if you love Texas like we do, you just enjoy the cooler, less humid air and anticipate that first cool front cool enough to kill off the mosquitoes.

My friends and followers, the past two months since I last posted has been a busy, hectic time it seems.  We had the thrill of Pete and Bug each committing to Christ and following in Baptism!  But we also had the sadness of the departure from this world of a life long and good friend, Shot Walker.  I want to declare now that I plan to be flying in the blogosphere much more often in the weeks ahead.  So come by, get a cup of coffee and sit down by the fire.
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