Flowering Backyard

We returned from our brief trip to Austin to find our bushes blooming, bees buzzing around the plants, the smell of freshly applied mulch heavy in the air, a gentle breeze, and a warm sun to heat the backs of our necks.

It is an absolutely perfect spring day in central Ohio.  Masters be damned!  I’m sitting outside and reveling in the best weather we’ve had in forever.

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The UT Clock Tower

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother, then armed himself with rifles and ammunition and climbed to the top of the clock tower on the University of Texas Austin campus.  From there he randomly shot passersby, ultimately killing 14 people and wounding more than 30 more.  The inexplicable rampage ended only when police shot and killed Whitman. The Whitman shootings are a reminder that mass killings aren’t only a recent development in American history.

The clock tower is still on the UT campus, at one end of a graceful quad framed by a fountain at the other end.  It’s a fine building, but I’m not sure I could work around it without constantly thinking about that fateful day 50 years ago.

At The ASO

Last night we went to see Julianne perform with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, which is the reason we came to the capital city of Texas in the first place.  The ASO delivered a stirring rendition of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, then Julianne’s oboe solo kicked off John Corigliano’s beautiful and touching Music from the Edge.  I’d never heard anything by Corigliano before, but I really enjoyed that piece.  The concert closed with a return to Copland, for some fine clarinet work on the Concert for Clarinet and String Orchestra (with Harp), and finally Dvorak’s powerful Symphony No. 8 in G Major.  Julianne played marvelously — of course!

It was a great performance by a really good orchestra.  One other thing about the ASO — its performance hall is world class, with a walkout area that offers a magnificent view of the Austin skyline across the river.  And since the ASO doesn’t like photos taken inside the building, I took the photo above to remember a wonderful evening.

Way to go, Julianne!