This weekend in Houston, the weather was glorious.
(Those of you who live far north of us and are still digging out from the recent snowstorm, I know that last sentence likely enraged you. I do apologize, but it's the truth. Know that you will be able to exact your revenge on me come July, when you are enjoying summer days with highs in the low 80s, and we're melting down here in a never-ending string of 100-plus-degree-95%-humidity days, as we dodge the occasional hurricane. Your day will come, friends, never fear.)
It's rare that Marcus, Alex and I ever go outside to do anything together, but there was no way we could let this weekend end without taking advantage of the cool, crisp air and perfect skies. Marcus is a mountain- and trail-bike rider, so he's done the most exploration of the greenspaces that Houston has to offer; therefore, he suggested that we go out to the reservoir in far west Houston to check it out.
Now normally, I would have hesitated. You see, nature really doesn't like me. It's like it senses when I'm in it, and sends whatever biting or stinging creature it can to hunt me down and destroy me. Marcus, who is an outdoorsman and has been his whole life, is on a mission to change my relationship with nature. In fact, he says that he will not consider our marriage a success until he takes me camping, and sees me walking deep into the woods with a roll of biodegradable toilet paper tucked under one arm and a shovel hoisted over the other shoulder, whistling.
I say that he has a lifetime of some serious disappointment ahead.
But I digress.
As I said, normally I would've politely declined. But since I have a brand new toy to play with, to his surprise, I happily agreed. The sun was already beginning to set when we arrived, and the landscape was stark: most of the trees had not yet really begun growing their new leaves, and many were recovering from a wildfire that during the late 2011 summer. But still, it was quiet and interesting and strangely beautiful, and I managed to get a few shots I liked.
"You know," said Marcus at one point, "I've seen a lot of wild boar out here."
"What's a wild boar?" asked Alex.
"It's a wild pig," I responded, looking around nervously. I hadn't been stung or bitten yet, and was starting to think that nature wasn't so bad after all. It would be just like nature for it to send a wild boar after me.
"Oh, cute!" smiled Alex. She was, no doubt, having visions of Babe in a loin cloth.
"Um, no," corrected Marcus. "It's not as cute as you think. They've got fangs. And they can be mean. They're kind of like were-pigs. But usually they're pretty skittish. I wouldn't worry about it."
"Huh," mused Alex. A beat. And then: "Um, yeaaaaah. No. Time to go."
I'm right behind you, kid.
In other news, later this week I'm going to be headed to the California wine country, at the amazing invitation of La Crema winery. I'm going to be working with La Crema over the next few months on their new Make Your Moment campaign, where I'll share some of my favourite ways to inject awesome, joy-filled moments into your life right here on Chookooloonks. I'm incredibly excited about this opportunity, and especially this trip: I'll be learning all about winemaking, learning about their really great wines (seriously, Marcus and I have been drinking them lately in anticipation of this campaign, and they're awesome), and, of course, photographing their vineyards and the amazing Sonoma countryside.
Because boar-free vineyards and wine? That's the kind of nature I can totally handle.
More very soon, friends.
UPDATE: Oh, for God's sake.