Month: May 2013

  • I Knew It Was Summer

    I have a habit of escaping to my parents’ lake house at the end of each quarter to change my scenery a little and study. It’s quiet there and a little more secluded. I don’t have to worry about sirens going off at night, or my car getting rummaged through. It’s just far enough away from civilization to “reset,” and far enough from where I live to make a trip out of it. The end of this quarter was a beautiful time to make the drive.

    It’s been unusually cool for this time of year here. I can’t complain. The air’s freshness only made the soft, cool cerulean of the bluebonnets melt into the same-colored sky. The bluebonnets and coral-colored Indian paintbrushes meandering through the patches evening primroses created a lovely moment. These pastel-dressed fields–dotted with emblematic Angus, Herefords, and the occasional longhorn–marked the distances between the small towns as I drove  home through Central Texas Saturday.

    However, an aestival harbinger occasionally disrupted these vernal vistas. I was not the only traveler along the hundred-mile stretch of back roads. But, these curious travelers didn’t travel the roads, but across them. Between towns, and hills, and the soft-dressed meadows, one wanderer foretells the approach of sweltering heat. As the proverbial canary in the mineshaft, it is not its life that is the most telling, but its death.

    Yes, the beguiling armadillo. It’s a tiny tank on the constant prowl for the insects that nourish it. It’s an unassuming character in the Texas landscape: it scuttles and digs and rarely concerns itself with what happens a foot above it…that is, until it’s too late. The armadillo has a terrible habit of jumping straight up when frightened. Often, finding that a car has straddled over you suddenly is a reason for fright. The process becomes scuttle, rumble, bust. Thus it has been, thus it will be. And that’s how I knew it was summer.

    Seeing the dead little buggers on the side of the road like overinflated, legged footballs means that summer is here–which would suggest a reason to celebrate. But, unfortunately, dead armadillos are never the end of the scene. Alongside, feeding on the fleshy, crimson treasure within the armored hull were the vultures, dark and looming. They basked in the misfortune of the literally run-down and dis-heartened. And suddenly I remembered my professors. And my exams.

    Alas, two are now done. The third will be the hardest. It’s sobering to remember that 5-10% of students every quarter don’t pass one of the exams. I’m praying fervently that I am not in their number. Also studying. But, there are definitely prayers that go up during the study breaks.