Red Dirt in the Air

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Spring has officially arrived. Warm weather, blooming flowers, sprouting grass, baby animals . . . these are all things that make their debut during the spring season. Spring is a time to pack away the winter coats and bring out the sundresses and baseball caps. Finally, we can start enjoying the warm sunshine and gentle breeze.

Or maybe we could if we didn’t live in Lubbock. Yes, technically we are in the spring season. The first day of spring was March 20, so now we can all rejoice that winter is over. Yay. If you’ve lived in Lubbock any amount of time, you know that spring does not actually bring green grass and flowers. Not at first, anyway. No, the first thing spring brings is dust. And lots of it. For a Lubbockite, spring means it’s time to bring door mats inside. Garden hoses, patio furniture and anything else weighing less than 100 pounds should also go inside so that it doesn’t blow away. When spring hits, it doesn’t shower us with a gentle rain. It pelts us with 30 mile an hour winds, sometimes gusting into the 50’s or 60’s. The wind is bad, but it would, at least, be breathable if it weren’t combined with the choking dust that comes along with it. Combine that with tumbleweeds that can be as tall as a car and you’ve got a pretty great picture of what spring looks like in Lubbock.

A typical spring day in Lubbock starts out pretty normal. The sun is shining, the temperature is mild, and the wind is less than twenty miles an hour. So far so good. By about ten or eleven o’clock, though, the wind has picked up significantly and is now gusting up into the thirties. Not pleasant, but not terrible. The sun is still shining and the sky is still blue. Sometimes, in the early afternoon, it will fool you into thinking it’s going to calm down. The wind will die down a bit and it’ll be nice and warm, fooling you into thinking the weather is going to behave itself and become springy. Don’t fall into this trap. Within a couple hours, the wind is back in full force and has brought backup- the dust. The sky now resembles the inside of a vacuum cleaner and there’s no trace of blue anywhere to be seen. The sun is a weak, pitiful little ball of sadness as it attempts to push through the layers of field, dirt road, and the farmland now flying around in the sky. When it finally gives up and sets below the horizon, the wind howls in triumph for several more hours and makes the moon and stars just as miserable as the sun was.

Is there anything that can be done about this predicament? I would love to say that spring in Lubbock isn’t always this bleak, but that would just be misleading. So spring isn’t our best season. It’s sort of like the rebellious teenager stage of life. We’ll grow out of it in a few weeks and then it’ll be time for summer. Lubbock weather just has some maturing and growing up to do. But do you abandon your friends when they’re going through a hard time? I certainly hope not. So stick around. Give Lubbock a chance and, within a few weeks, we’ll be in the full swing of summer in West Texas.

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