26 December 2013

White Christmas South Texas Style

Christmas morning, we woke up without a particular schedule for the day.  Sure, we had a rough idea of what might happen as the day progressed, but the day also had a clean canvass feel to it.  So when I knew for sure we were both awake, I said, "Let's go to La Sal."

La Sal del Rey (or "the salt of the king") has become our favorite outdoor getaway here in South Texas, for its quiet (completely removed even from road noise) and its solitude (we've only encountered another human being there once).  It's one of several salt lakes in the area from which people and nations mined their salt for hundreds of years, and now serves as a wildlife refuge.

We thought we'd be early enough to catch a glimpse of more birds and animals than usual if we simply rolled out of bed and got in the car, and that's essentially what we did.  Although we didn't make it in time for sunrise, we saw larger flocks of birds with more variety than we see in our afternoon visits, and countless deer of two different kinds.

The crusted salt crystals on the shore of the lake, complete with bird prints, remind me a little of a light dusting of snow, or a heavy frost.  We joked that this would be the closest thing to a white Christmas we would see this year.

We could hear even more birds than we could see.  I'm not sure I've figured out the name of these little birds, but we love them nonetheless.  I think we see some every time we go, and since they're quick movers it has been hard to get a photo of them.

The salt crystals you see above are actually under the water.  We usually don't see them in crystal form under the water, but we think perhaps there had been a recent enough rain that they had not dissolved just yet.  They were washed around a little by the waves, and we could see several ridges like the ones here.

The salt had inclosed this little twig , almost making it look like it had been in its own ice storm.  Of course it hadn't, but in the cool, lower-50s temperatures on Christmas morning, we liked to imagine familiar things, such as how it feels to be cold.

I particularly enjoyed our morning outing, because it gave us the chance to feed two of our great delights in one day--the delight of being out in the open air, surrounded by nature and its sounds, getting a bit of exercise right at the start of the day; as well as the delight of spending time with friends, connecting with people around a delicious Christmas dinner later in the day.  

We don't tend to create traditions and commit to them, but if we end up with anything resembling a tradition, it usually happens a little like our Christmas morning.  We have an idea, we go do something, we enjoy it, and we think to ourselves how nice it would be to do that idea, that thing, again.  Then we do, again and again, and it becomes something of a habit.  In fact, our tradition of singing Love at Home at the close of each Sabbath (well, almost each Sabbath) started this way.  We sang a hymn at random; then we liked it, and it stuck.

Maybe our spontaneous Christmas morning adventure will catch on too, and we'll do more of it in the future.  At the moment, I rather like that idea.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love these photos! It really does look like ice! I'm glad that maybe you started a new holiday tradition! May you get a chance to enjoy it for years to come if possible!


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