October in Texas: dusting and sunflowers

Sunflowers with dust storm near Abilene, Texas (October 17, 2011).

A light “dusting” of dust, not snow, descended with high winds upon Texas yesterday. A cold front came in the afternoon that sent temperatures this morning down into the lower 50s F. I love changes in weather. Of course, not with abrupt turns that bring destruction and fire, but changes like yesterday: brisk winds, racing clouds, lightening, rain in the distance that you can smell (my dog, Yeller, lifts his head high to catch the scents far away), dark clouds with long trailing edges that signal rain prospects and all of it bringing anticipation to the heart that tomorrow will be different, a new day with fresh starts all over the world.

How can one capture that cachet of weather change and anticipation for riding your favorite horse into the future? ( I am down to one horse, my Star paint gelding, so he is the favorite, the last of the remuda — but I will build a remuda back with brown mares that foal in the Spring.)  Well, you can’t capture it, but you can take a photograph that elicits Texas weather change, and the above photograph of Texas plains, dust and sunflowers, brings yesterday’s moment to pause.

You must ENLARGE the photo above to get the full effect of yesterday’s “dusting” around Abilene, Texas.  The evocations the photograph brings reminds me of migrating pioneers in the nineteenth century that saw the Trans-Mississippi West plains and stopped, not wanting to venture farther onto land that had little water, few trees and a population that spoke strange languages.

O, Pioneers!  Be not afraid!  There are springs and rivers, trees are in the ravines and highlands!  The Indians will trade and parley and teach their tongues, if you will tread lightly upon the terrain!

Yes, I know that pioneers did not tread lightly.  There were, however, places of concord — Bent’s Fort, the Pawnee, the Tewa, among other spaces and culture.

Despite this riff-tangent about the American pioneer, I come back to the weather change of yesterday that brought cold winds, turning the sunflowers to face the southern climes.  Bees and butterflies still feasted on its pollen, riding the petals like cowboys on broncs; the contrast of red earth, dusty skies and yellow flowers showed a tough plant on inhospitable soil, holding on tight and bearing its colors to the world.  I love these types of weather changes.


Filed under Weather, Wild Flowers of Texas

5 responses to “October in Texas: dusting and sunflowers

  1. I love the weather changes, too, and the same front that delighted you still is howling through here – a second day of strong wind and blue skies.

    During the past ten days, as I traversed the country south to north and south again, from Texas to Minnesota and back, it was completely fascinating to watch the changes in the weather, the crops, the harvest.
    In Minnesota, many fields already are plowed under, ready for winter. In Kansas and Oklahoma, some corn still isn’t fully dry.

    Despite a shortage of time, I was able to track some of my own pioneer forebears in Texas and Kansas. My great-great-grandmother camped on the blackland prairie near the present Parkhill Prairie Preserve. Her letters refer to Melissa, Texas – and her family’s decision to head north, eventually to Iowa.

    Actually, I think your sunflowers a reasonable metaphor for those pioneers – tough, willing to hang on in less than hospitable conditions, sometimes willing to adapt and flourish. A wonderful post you’ve given us.

    • Fields already plowed under in Minnesota! What a fascinating trip you must have had. I can understand your family wanting to head north– the weather down here is just brutal at times.

  2. I admire the starkness that dust storms bring to the country side. Another good reminder that things aren’t as we think they are. Part of nature’s constant teaching. Always the student I find myself constantly amazed.

  3. Pingback: Wind and flag football | Sage to Meadow

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