On Fire


 Barrel Cactus on Fire ©Lynne Buchanan

On my way across country, I spent a few days in Texas.  First I visited my son and his girlfriend in Houston, where it was so hot and humid that we couldn't spend any time outside except for going from one place to the next.  The closest we came to experiencing nature was the air-conditioned Natural History Museum, which was quite enjoyable although I always prefer to be in contact with the real thing.  On my way out of town, I hit a terrible pothole that blew out my front tire.  Apparently, the same thing had happened to four other people before me and two after me that morning.  The preceding day, numerous people hit this spot in the road and the gas station attendant told me one lady had blown out two of her tires.  I can't help but think that climate change will make potholes worse, since there will be more intense expansions and contractions of the earth.   This is ominous since the City isn't doing anything now, when so many people are being affected each day.  AAA's front page article this month was on potholes in Houston.  Apparently I can try and sue the city, but I would only consider doing this if it would motivate politicians and local government officials to acknowledge climate change is real.

After Houston, I went to Austin.  It was hotter there than anywhere I have been on the drip so far, reaching over 100 degrees both days.  When I took the macro of the barrel cactus above, I was in the sun for five minutes and ended up drenched with sweat.  The lady in the gift shop, where I bought a cooling towel on my way out, told me no one goes outside this time of year.  The Colorado River is central to the lives of people in Austin and I know why.  With heat levels so high, the river is a great place to cool off.  My hosts took me running around Lady Bird Lake (the dammed portion of the river in the morning) because it is more pleasant to run there, and I saw lots of people playing in the water or just chilling in Barton Springs.  The paddle borders, kayakers, and swans came out to appreciate the skyline in the late afternoon.  Seems like being near water or getting wet is the only thing that makes it tolerable to go outside in Austin in August and September...

Chillin in Barton Springs ©Lynne Buchanan

Boats on Barton ©Lynne Buchanan

Contemplating the Austin Skyline ©Lynne Buchanan        

For summer day trips from Austin, people often drive to Hamilton Pool about forty-five minutes away.  The story of this natural area was not so rosy due to the prolonged drought.  The rock formation around the pool was beautiful, but all the pictures I have seen of this area showed a large waterfall.  The morning I was there, it was just a small trickle.  Though the pool was shallow, thankfully it was still open.  I gladly waded in to the middle to make some photographs.  I missed the effect of water pouring down, since only a few drops spilled over the edge ever few seconds.   The rock itself was more visible and this made for an interesting photograph, though I would gladly have given up my view for more water.  Heading west, the story got bleaker and bleaker.  Outside a church in Harper, the sign read “Pray for Rain.”  When I crossed the Pedernales River on the road a short while later, I could see why.  There wasn’t a drop of water anywhere.  Luckily that day we were experiencing the 95 degree cool wave my Austin hostess had been hoping for, so I didn't melt.
Hamilton Pool ©Lynne Buchanan

When temperatures climb over 95 degrees, this experience taught me that ever degree counts.  The hotter it got, the more water I had to drink and the more I wanted to get wet, either jumping in pools or rivers or wrapping myself with the cooling towel.  Climate change is serious.   Sometimes people don’t think a degree or two of temperature change is very much and that it won't be a problem, or that it is a concern way off in the future. They should spend August and September in Texas…  Funny thing is some people do and they still don't acknowledge climate change.  Will it take giant holes in the roads all over the country or resigning oneself to never going out in real nature for multiple months a year?  What scares me is that people will be even less likely to protect the environment if they never go outside because the world is on fire...

Pray for Rain ©Lynne Buchanan

Pedernales All Dried up...