Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The sun in Texas

As I mention in my header above, I'm a Hoosier (that means I'm from Indiana for all the non-midwesterners out there) that woke up one day in Austin, Texas. I'm not just trying to be funny with that one - I often feel that way when I wake up in the morning. I'm more than 1,300 miles away from the place that was my home for 26 years of my life. 24 were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and two in Chicago, Illinois, before That Guy and I sold all our stuff, packed up our two vehicles, sedated the cats (there were only two at that time) and drove for two days to reach what has now become our home away from home in Central Texas. We moved here in September. I had visited not even a year earlier to check out the graduate costume design program at the University of Texas. Although I ultimately decided not to go that next fall, we moved here anyway!

Many things strike me about this part of the United States. The vegetation is so very different than where I grew up. The trees are for the most part shorter, closer to the ground, sort of scrubby, and they grow in a twisted, kinky way. Each kink illustrates time when water was scarce and each twisting growth exhibits when it was plentiful. Ground plants seem oversized with tough, leathery leaves. Perhaps most striking to me though is how much more intense the quality of the light is here. Being just a little bit closer to the equator makes for bright relentless sunshine all summer long - and I do mean looooonnngg. We are in it's midst at this point and it's only going to get hotter. Morning and evenings after sunset are the only logical time to be outside if you are going to be stationary. We may go for a bike ride this afternoon, but we will be sure to take water along and to put on sunscreen. The heat isn't so stiffling if you are in motion.

I took advantage of the shade our west facing balcony provides in the morning hours to sit and begin knitting this ballband pattern warshrag from MDK. I marveled for the umpteenth time at the way the sunlight here intensifies all the colors around us. In the midwest the trees do not exhibit this intense chartreuse except in the golden hour just before dusk sets in, and then only at the height of summer. The rest of the time it appears in quantities so scarce as to be barely discernable, so overcome by deeper, cooler shades of grun (green auf Deutsch, your German for today). Thus proving that all colors occur somewhere in nature regardless of how uncannily bright they are.
You know it's time to go back inside though when the shadows retreat and the sun advances dangerously close to the railing! Also a factor is the neighbor below who smokes like a chimney. How I managed to be outside for an entire hour without him coming out is beyond me because it is usually more frequent. It will be nice when we move to the rented house at the end of August to escape this unpleasantry. You may be wondering, what are those scraps of yarn on the railing in this photo? They are the only remains of the modified Waterlily pattern that I knit out of the Patagonia Organic Cotton. Seriously! All that was left was two yards of the third skein and a pile of trimmed woven in ends. Does it get any better than that?!
Here is a closeup preview for your knitted viewing pleasure. A field of varied colors of which words are inadequate to describe how happy they make me. Sigh. More on this FO in the next post. Bitte habt ihr alle ein schoenes Tag!


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