It’s springtime in Texas: returning to hope and to the blog

I’m back! I cannot believe it’s been three and a half months since I posted anything to the blog. With everything going on in the world, the winter was a very dark time for many of us, and to be honest, most of the time travel seemed so far from being a reality that it hurt too much to even think about it. I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about travel on the blog. Now, however, I’m two weeks post-2nd vaccine shot, so I’m as immune as I’m ever going to get, and I’m in a much happier place mentally! With the improving COVID situation, I feel a great sense of optimism about once again looking forward to and planning future trips.

I am not making firm plans for summer travel just yet. The situation is still too fluid, and I feel like too much is up in the air. Hopefully, if vaccinations continue at this rate, by early- to mid-May we’ll be in a place where I feel confident making summer plans, at least within the U.S. It remains to be seen if the E.U. and/or Canada will let Americans in in time for summer travel. My top priority is to visit my parents in Spain if possible. Failing not (I’m not holding my breath), I have some thoughts/dreams, including southwestern Wisconsin (which was my original plan for this May/June before COVID ever hit), Washington state, Hawaii, or Iceland! If you have other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email! Only requirements are that it have pretty scenery and not be too hot… we get enough of that in Texas!

In the meantime, I am thinking of taking a weekend camping trip in a couple of weeks, which should yield some gorgeous pictures… stay tuned!

I suspect many of you, like me, have developed new hobbies or interests during the pandemic, if only out of necessity because we have nothing else to do. For me, I’ve taken a new interest in the plants and animals common to my local area. It’s easy for things like that to fade into the background and never think about them – they’re just “there.” But I’ve taken pleasure in identifying just what these plants and animals are (with the help of my Seek app, when it feels like being cooperative) and acquainting myself with their distinguishing qualities. So instead of just “a shrub with red berries,” it’s yaupon holly, and instead of “that bird with the long funny tail,” it’s a scissor-tailed flycatcher. So, following in the vein of my tree pictures from last spring and fall, I’ll leave you with some pictures of gorgeous flowering trees from my many walks around my neighborhood. Enjoy!

First, a riot of Bradford pear blossoms. These are always one of the first to bloom and have a brief period of glory before fading early.

A splash of redbuds:

Peach blossoms! I actually pilfered a couple peaches from this tree last summer, since its branches overhang the sidewalk.

Chinese wisteria! It is so gorgeous and smells like heaven but blooms for such a short time.

Some ethereal pink and white blossoms (separate trees) that I never could find out what they were (Seek wasn’t being cooperative that day), but spectacularly beautiful. If you know what they are, please leave a comment.

A stunningly white tree in full blossom:

Tulips (these are rare here, and not native, obviously)

Pink flowers with a male cardinal being shy!

An unknown tree with garish pink blossoms (again, if you know what it is, leave a comment):

A tree with magnificent magenta blossoms. I don’t know exactly what this was, but it’s in the plum family. I love the soft golden light on the last one.

Sadly the flowers are all gone now, but the green leaves have a wonderful freshness and softness to them. Combined with mild temperatures and gentle breezes, it’s a magical time to be in Texas! Until next time!

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