Monday, April 05, 2010

the eyes have it . . .

Easter Monday off, Tina sleeping in after a late night (early morning) of writing, I had time to take Mr. Baby to school ("Am I the only one who has to go to work today?" - pobrecito), after a quick stop into La Madeleine for a palmier. Plenty time after that for a good five miles on the Salado Creek Greenway trail.

It's wonderful to have the trail so close to the house, and a new leg of it actually skirts the Los Patios grounds where Tina now has her office. For years, in the Tres Leches vs Austin debate, TL was slowly wearing down all my old attachments, save for my missing the wondrous Barton Creek canyon trail that winds seven miles south of Barton Springs and the Colorado River ("Town" "Lake" to the unwashed). When the creek is running after big rains, the BC trail is heaven on earth, so the Salado will likely never reach that status, but it's green and glorious presence (and proximity) have rendered my lingering greenbelt lamentations moot.

Lovely grey overcast sky, I ditched sunglasses and hat and cut my usual pace by about a third: I'm usually more on a fitness mission at other times: this morning, I really wanted to take in the cool air and the lushness of the trees, pull my nose up off the grindstone. Even at a faster pace, I feel the greenness around me, but today I also wanted to see it and let it fill my eyes with color.

The first two-thirds of the Tobin trail meanders through an avenue/cathedral of trees - Tolkienesque Ent-like oaks, soaring pecans, hackberries, mountain laurels, and handfuls of others beyond my limited flora databases. At the trailhead, there are scattered clusters of bluebonnets, which give way to shoulder-high stands of yellow Southern corydalis that run the full 2.91 miles of the trail. The understory of the "cathedral" is an endless carpet of delicate lavender Mexican petunias: the woods look like they are filled with baby's breath. Small patches of sunflowers; this morning I even found a patch of brown-eyed Susans. Breaking out in the past couple of days are some strands of what look like miniature purple irises; they look like delicate insects suspended on their green stalks. Colonies of tissue paper-thin pink primroses are mixed in with the petunias. What with all the pink, lavender, and yellow flooding the eye, the isolated bursts of red really stand out: bold male cardinal, three of four wine-cups, and in a deep meadow of the corydalis stood one lone, fluttering orange-red poppy.

Handful of people out this morning. The softest of breezes, just cool enough to offset the humidity in the air. Bird chatter up and down the length of the trail. The Salado starts west of the trailhead and then, about a half mile down through the trees, it cuts east under a footbridge. At the Austin Highway bridge - a quick peek out of the trees - another creek empties into the Salado, stairstepping down a series of concrete pools. Past the bridge another half-mile, the trail cuts back to the east side of the creek, where on a still pool of water sits a natural aquatic garden, full of lotus pads (still unbloomed): this pool empties under another footbridge and then spills over a limestone shelf, beautiful little waterfall that, without a bit more help on the rain-front, will likely disappear in another few weeks, as it did last year. Past the fall, the trail opens out down a long shoulder of corydalis meadow. Two tethered horses are often grazing down this last stretch; I saw one on Saturday when I walked the full 5.8 miles.

I'm a week overdue in paying my respects to the Basura Bash. Some time back here in the Tres Leches Herald-Tribune, I was grousing about the trash in the trees, the one blemish to our beloved greenbelt. I've since found that with the recent rains, much of the trash was washed out of the trees, and then last weekend, I was greeted by a few hundred folks up and down the trail, who were pulling all manner of trash up out of the woods and creek - such is the city's annual Basura Bash, which works to reclaim all the city's waterways. I have it on my calendar to be in their number for next year's bash.

This morning, I did my own mini-Basura up and down the trail, picking up little bits of trash and plastic water bottles. Passing under the Eisenhauer Road bridge (another little peek out of the trees), there was a plastic HEB bag, a few bits of trash, and a longneck beer bottle. HEB bag just crying out for me to pick it up and use it, even blown open by the breeze. I earmarked it for the return trip, but another hundred yards down the trail, I passed a pair of good old boys out for their morning constitutional, both with bags and grabclaws in hand; sure enough, on the return trip, bag and bottle and trash were all gone.

Sun broke through a couple of times on the way back to the trailhead, flashing corydalis brilliance on the way out . . .

Gonna be awful hard to go back to skerl tomorra . . .



Blogger Teresa said...

sounds like a great last day of vacation :) Love the Basura Bash day. Cool name.

3:37 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: Great day it was / still is.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

It's okay that I worked today - I just went for this walk with you :) Most of my walks are in the neighborhood. We now have the Trail de Paris which I have never visited but after reading this I might give it a go before mosquitoes get too bad.

9:33 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Checked out your trail website, and now I'm jealous of all the snow pictures. Mosquitoes for sure, even while moving? That would be a shame, but it looks like a beauty of a trail, both now and in the master planning. With my new plan, I have to figure out what to do for the two months of cedar fever down here: I'm thinking of a stationary bike, cuz when that fever hits, it's nasty.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing like a Texas spring -- this sounds like a bit of heaven. Just a matter of weeks and it's yours for the summer, right?


1:29 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: Those of us at the Instituto tend to lament a late run of about 5 weeks without a "break" - save for Battle of Flowers Day - but the truth is, it's a mere blink of an eye away.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

PB when you slow down you truly take it all in. This was a wonderful hike with you. My sense is that it would be a wonderful piece for your local paper.
We are still far from green and flowers. Well there are a few blades of grass that are the brave scouts that can endure snow and ice... but green in general... still brown.

12:54 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie: Thanks for taking the hike with me. A journey with you out into your wildernesses would be a wonderful thing. Till then, I'll continue to follow where your eyes go and where the spirit leads . . .

10:16 PM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

I need to know what are brown-eyed Susans. We had a sort of Basura Bash in Portugal too last year, cleaning the beaches mostly. Tons of basura, sadly people still litter around like it's their natural way of behaving.

12:50 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...


Your brown-eyed susans:

As I was picking up trash this morning along the trail, I was wording a little rant in my head about the very same thing you're wondering about. What's with the littering? I wouldn't think of throwing my trash on the ground, anywhere. Of course, after all my ranting and giving props to the Basurans, I can't pass up any trash on the trail without picking it up now.

2:00 PM  

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