I checked the weather forecast in the newspaper this morning and was deeply bummed to find that the cold front — highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s — that I'd heard forecast for the weekend seems to have stalled somewhere north of us. I often find myself studying the weather maps at this time of year, looking for those curved lines that mark a front headed our way. After nearly 50 years in Texas and 25 years in Austin, you'd think I'd know not to get my hopes up this early but . . .
I know. I know. It wasn't really a hot summer by our usual standards. Not one day over 100 at the official temperataure recording station. And all that rain. More than double our annual total by June. What's not to like?
A Texas gardener would probably be run out of the state for suggesting that all that rain might have been too much of a good thing. I keep reminding myself of recharged aquifers and low water bills. But then I drive through my neighborhood, with its enormous pecan trees in every block, and I wonder if the rain didn't have something to do with the infestation of web worms that has sheathed branches of almost every pecan. I keep trying to convince myself that the white webs — which seem to be continuing to multiply and spread — are seasonally appropriate: nature's Halloween decorations. But I find them creepy, repellent even. Will they disappear when the leaves fall? I hope so.
And then there are the spiders. For several months I watched a spider — my daughter says it was a garden spider — build its intricately zig-zagged web in a corner of the carport. Pretty cool until it forsook the web and took to hanging out on the gate between the carport and the yard. Not quite so cool (it had gotten really big). And at first I thought the little crab spiders that started popping up here and there were cute. Such fun colors. A bright yellow spider. I'd never seen that before.
But enough is enough. Now, a stroll into the garden is an obstacle course of webs. At first I tried not to disturb them, carefully ducking under or stretching a section so I could get around. But now I'm just fed up. There is a web between every upright stem and post in the back yard. I knock one down, come back an hour later and find two more in its place.
I blame the rain.