The Color Of Love And Spanish Mysteries

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Denton, Texas (click to enlarge)

Denton, Texas
(click to enlarge)

You Expected To Be Sad In the Fall

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Fall Colors University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas (click to enlarge)

Fall Colors
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Human Beings Would Not Be Human Without Them

“Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech – and both are still dangerous to this day – but human beings would not be human without them.”
― Isaac Asimov

Gas Space Heater, St. Charles Guest House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Gas Space Heater,
St. Charles Guest House,
New Orleans, Louisiana

A cold snap came through New Orleans the day after Halloween. When we came back to our room in the old guest house in the Garden District an unseen Prometheus had lit the gas space heater in the bathroom, filling the cracked and colorful old Art Deco tile designs with a warmth of blue, red, and orange.

Crape Myrtle in Ice

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

During the killer summer heat here in Texas one bit of beauty that survives are the bright colors of the Crape (or Crepe) Myrtle trees, blooming on the warmest of days.

Crape Myrtle blooms.

Crape Myrtle blooms.

They also have these amazing limbs, covered in smooth bark.

Crape Myrtle grove at the Dallas Arboretum

Crape Myrtle grove at the Dallas Arboretum

This winter, the ice storm showed another side of their beauty, glowing like crystal in the faint sunlight filtering through the clouds.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Azaleas

On our visit to Lafayette we could not help but notice the beauty of all the azaleas blooming across south Louisiana. No matter how humble your little cottage might be, you can have all the color you want exploding outside.

Azalea in Lafayette, Louisiana

I stepped out of a little restaurant and walked around back to take this picture. As I was raising the camera a couple of guys tumbled out of the business next door. They looked a little mixed between confused and upset and one said, “Is there anything I can do to help you?” – and not in a tone of voice that implied he really wanted to help me with anything.

“Nope, I’m just taking pictures of the flowers.”

“He’s just taking pictures of the flowers,” the guy said to his buddy, in a disgusted tone, and they went back inside without another glance at me.

Azaleas don’t do very well in Dallas, where I live. The soil is not acidic enough – right under the surface is a thick layer of limestone (caliche) that keeps the soil basic. A lot of people do plant them and fight the acidity. Some pour swimming pool acid (hydrochloric) into a trench before planting – the best thing is to dig a big hole and fill it with peat moss. Still, no matter what you do, eventually the caliche will infiltrate the soil and your flowering bushes are toast.

East Texas has beautiful azeleas. I remember, years ago, doing a bicycle ride along the Azalea Trail in Tyler. It was gorgeous. Maybe a road trip this spring would be an idea.

Dallas is right on the edge between two areas of vegetation. To the east, it’s all piney woods, dogwood, and azaleas. To the west – mequite and prickly pear.

None of it is like what I saw in South Louisiana, though. The things seemed to grow like weeds.