After a few days where rain was the order of the day, on Thursday evening, the sun made an appearance over the San Gabriel River, bringing a sense of autumn splendor to Williamson County, Texas.
These couple are from a drive I took Wednesday evening, a night filled with a mist that kept my windshield wipers busy, followed later by field-soaking rain. They are simple images that say whatever you like. For the second photo my preference was monotone. In the vernacular of those film days, it’s a little grainy, what we’d currently call “noise.” Either way, the mood it conveys suits me.
It’s easy to understand why birds love it around here. We have abundant space for them to enjoy, and obviously plenty of food sources to keep them fat and happy. These little black beauties, which I’m pretty sure are grackles, weren’t bothered a bit by stormy skies and rain tonight as they cozied up to each other along a county road a little west of Granger tonight. These critters are fascinating. Two things that I don’t get: 1) why they’re not electrocuted and 2) how they manage not to smack each other into oblivion when in flight. Amazing.
Sometimes I’m just not feeling it when taking those daily drives around the prairie. Monday night started out that way, an evening of light rain, and clouds that didn’t add much to the landscape. As I drove into Granger a little after 7, however, I was gobsmacked by the road in from of me. West Davilla Street, the community’s main road through town, was glowing like spun gold, and a little red thrown in for good measure, too. So far, the town of a little over 1400 a little over 40 miles northeast of Austin, has kept its wonderful brick street. The rain falling gently on its surface was calming. The street I grew up on, in Texarkana, Texas, was also paved with bricks, and remained that way until sometime in the 60s, when city leaders decided it was too much trouble and poured asphalt over it. Anyway, I have a soft spot for brick streets, especially when they shimmer.
As I wandered around last evening, the moon began to make an appearance. Well, you guys know I’m crazy about the moon. As the day’s light relaxed its harsh glare, the camera found its way to New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church, a church you can see from miles away. It’s only a few miles north of Manor, but it’s pastoral. The moon was in a Waxing Gibbous phase last night, well on its way to full moon status. Knowing Monday’s forecast called for rain and clouds (it’s raining right now), Sunday night was my best chance to see the lunar presence. In addition to ones with the moon, I’ve included a photo of the church taken from the side. And there’s a tree behind the church that looked pretty. It merited a frame or two.
Spending a pleasant Saturday with his grandma, Jameson, who turns 4 on Tuesday, wasn’t so sure about a goose paying the pair a lot of attention at San Gabriel Park on Saturday afternoon. Because of all the rain and flooding, the park was a pretty quiet place. Except, of course, for that goose. Jameson was in good hands. After the rescue, the little guy, close to nap time, relished in some down time. Just a little slice of life, friends.
A little over nine years ago, when we moved back to Texas, the rodeo arena in Georgetown caught my eye. It defined everything I think about growing up in Texas. Even then, a friend, a member of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo, told me it wouldn’t be around many more years. The property, you see, was leased. The lease would expire in a few years. The arena would be no more. I couldn’t believe that. Fast-forward to 2018. What I, and many others feared, would come true. The community would not extend the arena’s life. Until this morning, while looking around San Gabriel Park for a photo, I happened to look toward the arena, where two men dismantled the grandstands. Entering the arena, I asked if it were okay to take some photos. The gentleman at first hesitated, then said okay. The men are members of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse. They were salvaging what they could before their contract ran out … on November 1st. So it is. Another slice of our culture is relegated to history. The arena grounds are covered in weeds now. Grackles make temporary homes on the stands … but not for long. Included in this post is a “portrait” I made of the arena last spring, plus a black-and-white photo of two bull-riders waiting their turn at the 2017 rodeo. That one’s on my business card.
A couple tonight, grain elevators reflecting ambient light on a very wet Friday night in Central Texas. On every walk this week, I carried an umbrella. On the plus side, it was mighty cool. The opening photo was taken in Noack, Texas. The second, perhaps a half-hour later, was in the heart of Taylor, at Williamson County Grain. Night light, friends, is soothing. At least it is to me.
Recently, I covered the annual Choo Choo Fest in Coupland, Texas, a fundraiser for the restoration of their vintage caboose. The town’s venerable depot has had its makeover, but residents in this community of around 300 people in southeast Williamson County are tackling the restoration of the caboose. When finished, it will be used as a children’s museum. Although I photographed the Choo Choo Fest during the day, it seemed like a good idea to go back for a photo of what the money’s helping. It’s a neat little community with a good heart.
This evening I’m staying with subject matter that continues to engage my senses. The opening windmill was the result of a pretty long afternoon drive into neighboring Milam County, Texas. It was a cold and misty day, just the right setting for what I saw along this lightly-traveled farm-to-market road, a windmill surrounded by fog, resting in a base of Blackland Prairie soil, with a dirt road leading into what seemed like infinity. Back in Williamson County later tonight, two more windmills caught my eye. These last two are neighbors, maybe a half-mile apart. The center one’s been a photo subject several times. The last one, new to me, was taken into that blue period of light. And in the far distance, a pinprick of white light, farmhouse perhaps. Just windmills, friends.