A very Austin weekend

Active weekends feel like longer weekends, don't they? We thought it would be fun (and cheap) to get out and about and do some things we've been meaning to do for a while now. We kept busy enough that, driving home tonight, I found myself trying to remember what day we'd gone to Epoch for coffee. Turns out it the answer was "today." Either we had a nice, full weekend or I'm just getting old. Or both. Probably both.

Saturday morning, we hit up the poetically-name Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail. It's not far from our home, five, maybe ten minutes, but it feels like we've left the city entirely when we're hiking by the waterfalls. It's not a difficult hike like some of the other trails off of 360, but it's quite beautiful and easily accessible. Well worth the visit if you want to see some nature without having to leave town.

Looking down the waterfall from the header image.

Looking down the waterfall from the header image.

 

Saturday night, we checked out the Creekshow at Waller Creek. It was a lovely use off the space along Waller Creek, and judging by the attendance, it was wildly popular. I didn't take any pictures, but I'm sure you can find some if you're interested.

It felt a little off to me, though. I work a block from Waller Creek and I spend a lot of time in that area. The creek splits the distance between the homeless shelter and the police station. During every other week, the vibe is very different. Austin has a large homeless population and the area around Waller Creek is a popular place for people who don't have any place to live. None of this was in evidence during the Creekshow, which was very much by design.

The Creekshow is sponsored by the Waller Creek Conservancy. Here's how they describe their purpose. 

The mission of Creek Show is to surprise and delight the community while also creating awareness about the importance of Waller Creek's transformation for Austin's social, cultural, and ecological future.

If this means "It's time for Austin to get serious about helping the homeless," then great. But it's about spending moving to develop the area and kick out the people who already have nowhere to go, then I'm less excited about it. I hate to sound so negative; it was a neat show, but knowing what that area really looks like gave the event a weird vibe.

Today was special. Today was checked out the new Austin Central Library. I'd heard it was amazing, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw. It's flat-out stunning. It has a huge atrium with an Escher-eque array of staircases which is every bit as vertigo-inducing as it sounds. There are two large event areas, a museum, a gift shop, computer catalogs everywhere, plenty of computers for people to use, include laptops that can be "checked out" for use in one of the many reading/working areas, small meeting rooms, porches, and even the top-floor garden. Check out some of the photos here.

Oh, and there were books, too. A great lot of books, which is what you'd expect (although the fiction selection was curiously thin). But...the focus seemed to be on ways to put all manner of information in the hands of people who want it as opposed to being just about the books. I love books, and I prefer to do my reading on paper, but I'm not religious about it. The library seems to have been born of an effort to provide well-rounded information services to the community as opposed to just catering to bookworms like me.

In fact, if I couldn't afford a computer or an internet connection, and I lived next to a library like that, I think I'd get on just fine. Of course, this library is located in one of the most expensive areas to live in the entire city so the people who live nearby are the ones who least need those kind of services. Nonetheless, it's an incredibly impressive building. I'm making a note here: Huge success!

Before I go, though, I'd like to share this with you all. This weekend, we also added a third adult snail to our terrarium. Last month, we found a beautiful snail outside with the shiniest shell we'd ever seen. Looking more closely, we realized his shell was nearly transparent because he was so deprived of calcium and he'd had some breakage as well. We brought him and kept him in his own enclosure for a month while he recuperated and, yesterday, we introduced him to our other snails, Dazzle and McKenzie. Professor Dashiell Longfellow now has a home with us, and Nicole made this video to announce his arrival:

And now I am truly tired. My legs are sore, and I think it's more from the library stairs than the hike, and Nicole is asleep and I expect I will be too shortly.