The bikes have been patiently sitting for a month or so now. No riding while healing from a bad back injury during a fall on ice. So life has been quiet and simple the last month or so. To fill in the quiet times, my non-work time is occupied by walks in the parks with Ed and Buck the Dog, visiting my favorite music group, Slim Richey's band (jitterbug music in Fort Worth), catching up on my Big Bend website, reading, watching the first season of Farscape on DVDs, making plans for future bike rides and making yogurt.This past weekend was the harbinger of spring with temps around 84 degrees F on Sunday. The warm sunshine was like an elixir. I tried to stay outside as long as I could and soak in the warmth. Cold makes me hurt.
I am helping Ed in an advisory capacity (since I can't do any real manual work) redo his front foundation plantings: old overgrown and gangly shrubs have been removed, roots extracted, soil reworked and being prepped for replanting.An hour or two meandering around a local nursery awoke the old memories of former gigantic vegetable and flower gardens and fruit trees in Oregon and Maine. All that has laid dormant during my life in Texas. We may put in a small vegetable garden in Ed's backyard this summer, and I continue to research growing plants in the Big Bend desert for our future needs there. After all, the Mexicans grew a variety of vegetables and melons to subsist on; I can, too. Meanwhile, weekend walks in the parks are welcome respites from routine weekdays.
Our park visits take us to areas in Arlington (Texas) that are on the watershed of the Trinity River. Several seasonal creeks squirm and meander through these bottom lands and low hills that were once favorite hunting grounds of several Native American tribes: Caddo, Witchita, Tonkawa and even Cherokee bands fleeing European encroachment in the Appalachian areas. Hard to believe that this area was once teeming with tipis, grass huts, and people living the simple life. A private fort and stage station back in the early 1800's place this area a center of communities before the neighboring two megapolises of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Now Arlington is smack in the middle of the two behemoths and packed with cars, houses, apartment complexes, a reservoir (called 'lakes' in Texas), three colleges, gigantic churches, strip malls, highways, giant amusement park, dictatorial football stadium, and the usual urban affairs.
These greenbelts and parks are truly oases. Visitors can hike or ride horses along creek banks hidden in thick Cross Timber woods and be sheltered from urban sounds (if you are in the middle). The edges are scattered with young and old people playing the ever-popular frisbee golf (I still don't get that), jogging on concrete walkways, feeding crackers to ducks, and being taken for walks by their canines.
The astute hiker can find an occasional relic of a long extinct species: the old jalopy.
While sitting and watching the comical ducks one day, we were honored by a visit from the most beautiful Australian Shepherd puppy. She was just full of action and bounce, softer than a fleecy blanket and eager to slop your face with a wet tongue. She was just adorable. And full of energy!
We were able to coax her to sit for a photo with Buck, who didn't really know how to manage the freckled bundle of bouncy puppy.
So, life has been a bit slow. But that's been a good thing. Let the back heal, get the bikes ready, and the roads will wait.