In the Bleak Midwinter

Sunset at Cedar HillWe’ve spent the weekend at our favorite “backyard” state park and we’re pleased we took the chance on North Texas’ unpredictable winter weather. It’s been alternately warm and windy, but sunny and mild every day. In fact, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend. To underscore the fact that we’re still outdoor “novices,” we encountered a coyote while walking our chihuahuas, and, because we didn’t know the difference between a wolf and a coyote, we quickly changed course and hightailed it in the opposite direction. After returning to our campsite, we consulted the Internet to learn the differences between a coyote and a wolf. It suffices to say that our little dogs were probably more of a threat to the coyote than it was to them.

We’ve seen a lot of ducks (and we’ve talked at length about how we would like them prepared: roasted, baked, smoked, etc.), as well as majestic snowy egrets, great blue herons, whooping cranes. Incredible. We’ve also been quite surprised at the number of park guests who’ve taken advantage of the warmer temperatures to hike and bike. Did they know this weekend’s weather would be so favorable, or did they, like us, take a chance?

As the nation pauses to celebrate MLK Day, we’ll head home to ready ourselves for the work week ahead. I’ll likely take the occasion to dig a little deeper into my own African-American roots (my great-grandfather was born in Transwatt, South Africa, in 1864–I hope one day to visit there and pay tribute to him).

Technically, the title of this post is a misnomer. Midwinter came and went around the time of the solstice, and this weekend was anything but bleak. However, the forecast is for much colder temperatures and a chance of sleet by week’s end. Looks like our luck is about to run out.