Sunday, January 3, 2010

- A Midwinter Night’s Dream: Christmas in Austin

I made the mistake of saying that moving to Texas had gotten us out of the house more than we used to in Williamsburg. “So you want to go to the free concert in Zilker Park tomorrow night?” Don asked.

“Umm, well … I guess so,” was my lukewarm reply. After all, it was Sunday night and we had just returned from Austin, where Meg and I had taken in Ballet Austin’s Nutcracker matinee. Christmas was only five days away and I had a long list of things to do.

None-the-less we called Meg and Paul to see if we could bring dinner in exchange for use of their guest room the following night, and invited them to join us at the concert … on a work night, no less. “You don’t really have to come,” I offered. But come they did, with Meg observing that they probably wouldn’t have made it of their own volition (such is the power of newcomers to inspire a reawakened awareness of one’s environs).

On a cool Austin evening, we joined the long line of cars queuing into Zilker Park, drawn by the tree of lights and the promise of free entertainment by Asleep at the Wheel, with a hoped-for guest appearance by Shawn Colvin.

There were throngs of people and a festive air, enlivened by the heady aroma of kettle corn and the flickering lights of toy swords purchased from vendors and wielded by tiny hands. After listening to the music for awhile, Meg suggested we walk through the light displays, which were scaled back from years past.  Not that I would have known. It was a Grand Illumination, Texas style.

We walked into a wonderland, greeted by Maurice Sendak’s Max,

an armadillo rodeo,


Mother Goose's cow jumping over the moon,

 and a vision of the Austin skyline straight out of the Jetsons.

I'm thinking Logan would have loved every bit of it.

Wearied at last, we trekked back to the car as the Frost Tower glimmered in the distance ... making our way to warm beds, to sleep, perchance to dream.

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