This week I traveled to Midland Texas to earn a little money. Apparently I have some strong powers that affect the weather in Midland. I last traveled to Midland in early December and brought about 4-5 inches of snow into town. On this trip the snow held off until the first full day in town and by noon the town was covered with a blanket of very wet snow. The town can’t handle much snow so we cancelled the training class and sent people home before it became dark. We also took Tuesday off as we did not want folks trying to travel during the potentially icy mornings. It continued snowing until nearly 10 PM last night (Monday the 9th of January). The weather is now cooperating and we will have full sessions for the Wednesday/Thursday training classes.
There is something magical about the snow for those of us who rarely experience it. My work partner on this trip is from Canada (Calgary, Alberta to be more precise) and he doesn’t quite see it the same way I do. I love the crunching sound underfoot as you walk across the fresh snow. I love the crisp air as you inhale through your nose and the frost on your breath as you exhale. I love the quietness that descends upon you during a snowfall – it is as if the falling snow flakes absorbs and muffles any ambient sound. I love how the landscape changes, how the trees capture a mottled blanket of snow in their boughs and how the morning sunlight sparkles across the ground smothered by that frozen” comforter” spread out before your eyes. And then it melts into slushy nastiness and turns brown or black and your shoes get all messed up……did I just destroy the images????? I just had the throw in the perspective of those living in snow country!!!!
This morning I took a trip down memory lane and drove through the old neighborhood where we lived from January of 1997 through July of 2004. I have always planted a vegetable garden in the yard wherever my former employer, Chevron, dropped us off. Midland was no exception. I will have to admit, Midland was the most difficult location that I have ever been challenged with. The soil, if you can call it that, was thin, rocky and primarily decomposed limestone. It requires lots of help to become a fertile soil. Add to that the incessant wind, scorching like a blast furnace in the summer and in the winter it will chill your bones! I was pretty successful with squash and indigenous weeds and not much else. Unfortunately squash becomes less a gift and more of a curse as you quickly run out of different ideas on how to use it and the weeds……I didn’t find too many recipes for the weeds.
In November of 2001 my father passed away after a valiant fight against bladder cancer. He also loved to see things grow in the garden. He seemed to always have a peach tree or two in his yard. In the spring of 2002 I planted a peach tree at the western edge of my garden in his memory. I wasn’t overly optimistic at the time but as I can see now, eight years later, the peach tree has more than survived, it has thrived. Our friends and neighbors a couple houses down the street have told us how well the tree has done but this was the first time that I have actually stopped to peek over the fence. I have driven down the alley in past years and noticed how large the tree has grown but never stopped to look. I guess Midland has sufficient chill hours and the soil provides what this peach tree needs.
It was a nice feeling to recapture a bit of the joy I felt when I first planted the tree in Dad’s memory and even more satisfying to see the tree thriving. I will need to peek over the fence again this spring, if my work assignments cooperate, and see the tree in blossom! I know the people living in our old house….maybe if I am back to Midland when the peaches are ripe I can add the taste of a peach from “this tree” to my memories.
Good things are happening for the gardens in Kingwood, both my garden and John’s have been blessed with a lot of rain yesterday. The stressed trees in our forested neighborhood are also drinking deeply….we don’t need another summer of drought like we had in 2011.