As I’m sure you might recall, we had a fire here in September. It was awful and devastating, and I’ve still not really written about it. Mainly, because as blessed as we were personally to keep our home and as a community to suffer no loss of life, it’s still a bit depressing. The landscape has changed, and it won’t be the same as it was–at least not in my lifetime.
Tony and I knew a guy a long time ago who had a unique way of phrasing things. He was just a unique individual period. I can’t deliver the line at its best since you can’t hear me and since you didn’t know Joel, but he said the following in all seriousness as though it were a new concept, “Ya know? The thing about rain is. . .it makes the grass GROW!” And he was right. Look what some rain will do.
Long before the fire, our poor area of Texas was parched like the rest of the state. The grass was just crunchy black-brown from being scorched by the sun. The ponds were completely dry–and they were ponds that, as it turns out, were 6-10 feet deep. When I went out about a week after the fire, there were trees that looked as though they had been burned–but they hadn’t. The only way you could tell was to look at the bark. The sun and high heat had scorched leaves and pine needles just like the fires had. Houston and the surrounding area has lost something like 20% of its trees–and that’s hundreds of thousands of trees. We’re talking serious, serious drought.
Losing the trees has been particularly sad. Huge pines and oaks have died all over and are being cut down by the hundreds each day. Many trees went into shock this summer and lost or dropped their leaves in an effort to save themselves. The ones that kept their leaves sort of drooped and sagged. We don’t normally have a lot of fall color in this part of the country. There are always a few sweet gums or tallow trees that put on a show–Bradford pears (which I don’t count because they are interlopers) are good for some color, but for the most part the leaves turn brown and fall.
So imagine our surprise when we got some rain. . .and then some more, and some more, and a little more. And the temperatures dropped a bit, and there was some serious cold and low and behold if the trees that are left didn’t give us something to cheer about.
This is an OAK tree. I didn’t even know oaks TURNED red. . .at least oaks that aren’t Red Oaks. And this is NOT a Red Oak.
The past two weeks have been like something out of a dream as far as southeast Texas goes. At least my little section of it.
Oh. . .it’s not Vermont. But we’ll take it.