January 16, 2021
On twilight walks around the neighborhood I love coming to this house, the home of neighbor friends who deck out their front-yard garden with hanging globes of blue and white for Christmas every year. I’m in no hurry for them to take them down. The lights add such a magical glow that they could be used year-round.
One Instagram commenter said they evoke a midsummer night’s dream quality. Yes — or as it happens, a midwinter night’s dream! Others admired the live oaks, the arching-trunked native Texas trees that stretch out dark limbs like octopus tentacles. They are so ubiquitous — my own 1/3-acre yard contains about 20 — that I sometimes take them for granted.
What else is ubiquitous in my northwest Austin neighborhood? Herds of deer — including many melanistic deer, which are a rarity elsewhere — roam our neighborhood streets at dusk and dawn and often bed down on lawns or beds of sedge (in my yard). This relaxed herd was lounging across the street from the garden pictured above — another reason besides drought/flood cycles and extreme heat that gardening here is so challenging. But we LIKE a challenge, don’t