Spring is officially several weeks away. But in South Texas things don’t often follow the rules. Here, the spring wildflowers have emerged and the days are warming fast. Over the next few weeks the color combinations will change and predominantly yellow and white landscapes will turn blue, red, orange, lavender and other assorted shades. Meadows and clearings will take on a kaleidoscope of evolving hues. And, for a few weeks at least, the temperature will be tolerable, perhaps even pleasant.
Last summer I resolved not to spend anymore summers in the region. With rising temperatures seen yearly for the last decade, (over twenty years, in fact) and with predictions of increasing droughts, blazing summers, chaotic winters and all the other ills associated with what every reputable scientist around the world has said are indicators of growing climatic pandemonium, I’ve decided to spend my summers in cooler climes.
Last year there were few wildflowers. A seemingly interminable drought reduced the foliage to nothing more than withered stems. Monstrous fires, some stretching across tens of thousands of acres, ravaged the landscape and turned the skies a murky brown. In some areas you could drive for miles and never leave the smell of smoke. Only the mesquite, brasil, granjeno, chaparro prieto, lotebush, junco, huisache, anacua and another couple dozen hardwoods seemed to survive. In fact, those hardwoods (some growing no more than a few meters high while others grow tall enough to provide a meaningful and critical shade) have been the great salvation for the region. Ironically, some people have indulged in all out attempts to eradicate the brushlands. Their folly has been brutal for both wildlife and the land itself. It seems that greed and narcissism play continually bigger hands in a country that embraces a predatory economic system. In the end not only humans suffer but the land itself.
But for now in this isolated world where I live, the flowers survive as well. Yes, there are those who would destroy even the flowers if given the chance. Their minds are as far from mine as Earth from Pluto.
For those of you who take pleasure in bushcraft or woodcraft, I hope you always keep in mind that without nature your enjoyment is impossible. Every real woodcrafter is at heart…..Let me see, what is that phrase? Oh yes, a “tree hugger.” And damn proud of it too!
Enjoy the flowers, my friends.