The rosy fingers of dawn released their choke-hold on the super-hip city of Austin this morning to reveal one of those crisp, blue-and-green days that just cry out to be strolled around in. Zippy and I sprang from our beds, slid into raiment suitable for outdoor revels, swallowed a few gallons of espresso while humming "
," and headed for the hills. Barton Hills, that is. Swimming pools. Movie sta–
No, wait. I was thinking of Beverly Hills.
It turns out that Zippy and I live in Barton Hills, which bungalovian hotspot, it may astonish you to hear, lacks sorely of swimming pools and movie stars. We do, however, enjoy more nutbags per square foot than any other Hills in America. You will perhaps recall our first installment of Loonies And Their Lawns, and its debut entrant, the Plastic Lawn Of Barton Hills? Well, just one scant block away from the aforementioned plastic lawn blooms the gripping tableau past which Zippy and I sauntered this morning: The Tree of The Umbrella-Lovers.
I call it that because the main tree has seven or eight thousand umbrellas hanging from it.
You might assume that there had been a storm, and that the tree had inadvertently ensnagged a herd of migrating Mary Poppinses, but you would be wrong. The umbrellicine embellishments appear to be the consequence of deliberate contemplation.
Months ago, Zippy and I were lucky enough to have witnessed the germination of this fascinating installation. It began innocuously enough with a couple of plastic chairs. The turning point came a week or so later, when we saw a couple of hippies sitting in the chairs. Well, you can imagine what happened next. The hanging jib appeared. Then, overnight, there erupted the screaming riot of arboreal umbrellas and toilet-paperesque streamers you see before you.
No explanation was given.