Alt Year

A couple of weeks before Christmas we went to see the holiday lights at the Wildflower Center. We walked down a beautiful path lined with carefully spaced and elegantly lit luminaria, the kids running ahead holding their hot chocolates while the adults ambled with our beers. It was a pleasant warmer-than-usual Texas fall night, and we were with friends which is a special treat these days. But by the time we arrived to where the kids were eerily dangling from swings in a grove of ancient live oaks bathed in a piercing blue light, we were distinctly uneasy. Social distancing and staggered entry times designed to spread the groups out meant that we were all alone. Hidden speakers played spooky disjoint music that sounded distant and intrusive at the same time. We made some weak jokes about accidentally stumbling on to a Halloween set-up.

But after a few dozen more steps and around a turn in the path we came up to a “WILDFLOWER” sign bathed in warm yellow light. Swing and jazz played from hidden speakers. We breathed more easily. Further down the path we came across a grassy circle of glowing six foot neon rings suspended a couple of feet off the ground, inviting us to lay in/on them uncomfortably till we found ourselves in surprisingly relaxed positions, soothed by quiet acoustic guitar sounds. We realize that we are experiencing Art. Each of these vignettes are individual art installations with their own curated illumination and music, meant to create certain ambiances. We end the evening on a high note.

The courtyard in the Wildflower Center was where we got married. Now here we are, back in the same courtyard sixteen years later. With masks.

Funny year, this 2020.


That was me writing two weeks ago. I never did finish the post. Then came the new year, new beginnings, a fresh hope, blah blah, blah. Today is the afternoon of the 6th of January. More people are now dying of Covid than before. The virus, the vaccine, and the disinformation about each of them are spreading through our communities, trying to outrun each other. So far the vaccine isn’t winning, but that is understandable. The virus and the disinformation are designed to spread efficiently. The vaccine on the other hand is work – like pushing a boulder uphill. Is 2021 already off to a bad start? Wait. I’m still willing to be hopeful.


Now it is the evening of the 6th of January. Earlier today Trump egged his mob to attempt a coup. Yesterday we could have thought of his supporters as mere misguided assholes or gullible jerks of low intelligence and lower morals putting their selfish fears and desires ahead of their country. But not anymore. Anyone who is still in the Trump mob is a criminal. It’s time to fess up. Otherwise We The People Do Establish that We Are Fucked.

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