The weather continued cold, chilly and foggy, even drizzle from heavy clouds, but Town Lake Trail called to me this weekend. We are in Austin for only a few more weeks before returning to the West Coast. I bundled up, tights under my running pants, Craft wool undershirt beneath my long-sleeved shirt beneath my vest beneath my windbreaker. I am reminded of one of my favorite childhood characters, Heidi, as she hiked up the Swiss mountains to her grandfather’s cabin, wearing layers of clothes because she did not have a suitcase. As a young child, my mother bundled me too tightly before going outside to build snowmen or make snow angels that I could barely move.
My abundance of caution here in Austin seems misplaced, the Southwest “winter” a light version of Boulder this week, where the temperature bottomed out at 0 degrees. Yet the chill of the humidity and 20 mph winds belied the thermometer, as here I must rely on “feels like,” a perception of weather that its quantification doesn’t quite capture.
Although my walk is brisk, I stop at familiar spots along the trail, wanting to memorialize the glimpses of a city undergoing major expansion and an explosion of growth along with changing seasons along the trail. Austin has an incredible gem where on a summer morning thousands of runners, walkers and bicyclists share the path beneath the overhanging trees and along the lake (which will always seem more a river to me than a lake). In almost-winter, the trail is more manageable, as I don’t have to maneuver strollers, hand-in-hand walkers, or kayakers carrying their boats to launch. As I stop I don’t interrupt the flow of all those others often enjoying the same pathway a sometimes annoying impediment to those of their missions to perfect fitness.
I will miss this integral part of our stay here in Austin even as I yearn to return home. The joy of being able to experience a city’s vibrancy is indeed a gift.
[Photograph of Town Lake Trail between Cesar Chavez and Town Lake.]