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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winter's Last Shot Defies All Signs of Spring

New buds on the old mesquite. 
Ever since the idea came to me a couple of days ago, I’ve been thinking about how I’d devote this week’s issue of the Hard Times to the coming of spring in West Texas and to the intelligence of the old mesquite trees that unerringly wait until the last freeze is over before putting on their buds.  

According to accepted wisdom, early warm spells might fool young mesquites into budding along with the peach and apricot trees—but not the old mesquites.  They’ve been around long enough to know better.  In fact, they’re so good at it that they’re celebrated for it in verse.  Here’s a poem by Faye Carr Adams:

Is strangely wise
To Winter's fickle way
Of sudden northers on a late
Spring day. 

withholds her growth,
Wary, while foolish trees
Flaunt new green buds to die in a
Late freeze.

And the most famous one, “The Old Mesquites Ain’t Out,” was written in 1928 by Frank Grimes, then the editor of the Abilene Reporter-News:

We see some signs of returning spring,
The redbird's back and the fie' larks sing.
The ground's plowed up and the creeks run clear.
The onions sprout and the rosebud's near;
And yet they's a point worth thinkin' about—
We note that the old mesquites ain't out!

 The fancier trees are in full bloom—
The grass is green and the willows bloom.
The colts kick up and the calves bend down.
And spring's apparently come to town;
And yet they's a point worth thinkin' about—
We note that the old mesquites ain't out!

 Well, it may be spring for all we know—
There ain't no ice and there ain't no snow.
It looks like spring and it smells so, too.
The calendar says it's plenty true—
And still they's a point worth thinkin' about—
We note that the old mesquites ain't out!

But the old mesquites have been out for several days now, and, besides that, the buzzards are back.  So what happens?  It freezes anyway!  According to Lyndell Underwood’s Davis weather station* on the western edge of Roscoe, the temperature dropped to a low of 29°F at 6:49 this morning.  

By 9:00 it was back up to 33° and slowly rising, so the peaches and apricots may be okay.  But even if this is winter’s last gasp and a warm weekend is forecast, another myth has just been shattered--and Mother Nature reminds us once again that there are no foolproof methods of predicting her fickle ways.  

*The readings of Lyndell Underwood’s weather station can be accessed by clicking here.



The Abilene Reporter-News’ area best in track and field list compiles the current best times and distances for high school athletes, lumping all classes together into one big list.  

Plowboy Caden Smith has the Big Country’s best for all classes in two categories, discus and shot put. His 159-7 in the discus is over two feet better than the second place toss of Nick Perez of Stephenville, and his 51-9 in the shot put is five inches better than the 51-4 of Garrison Railsback of Abilene Cooper.

Plowgirl Jacinda Morales’s 2:29:33 in the 800 meters is good enough to place her at seventh in the area for that event.



Jacinda Morales led the Plowgirls at the Lions Relays in Roby on Saturday, placing first in the 800-meter (2:29.49) and 1600-meter runs (6:02.36).  Amber Craig was first in the 3200 (13:50.75) and second in the 1600 (6:24.11).  Crystal Luna was fifth in the 1600.  The Plowgirls’ 1600m relay team came in third (4:39.65). 



Terri Stewart, 42, died in Sweetwater on Monday, March 28.  Funeral services are pending with McCoy Funeral Home.



Clayton Brown, 77, died at his home on Tuesday, March 29.  Funeral services are pending with McCoy Funeral Home.

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