If 2013 was the Year of the Goathead, then 2014 is lining up to be the Year of the Tumbleweed.
Our “brief and limited amounts of precipitation” (which the fascinating reference volume, Weeds of the West, says is ideal for tumbleweed procreation) produced a bumper crop. Every time the wind changes direction, new volunteers break loose to join the rebel brigade.
Tumbleweeds even scored a feature-length article in the December 2013 issue of National Geographic, publicity which provided little solace to locals who found themselves barricaded in their homes Monday morning when the wind switched suddenly and dramatically with a frontal passage in the wee hours.
Skeptics who live outside of tumbleweed territory think we exaggerate. Witness this story:
Friends of mine some years ago were between Portales and Lubbock on a sandstorm day when the windshield of their car was broken by the club-sized root of a suicidal tumbleweed. A call to their insurance agent on the east coast was met first with silence, and then a barrage of questions. The exasperated agent finally said, “I’m going to say your car was hit by a rock. Nobody will believe a ‘weed’ could do this.”
Be careful out there, my friends. We are under siege.
Betty Williamson believes one day tumbleweeds will make someone rich, but probably not her. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.