Call me when the real Trail of Lights comes back (read: never)


The Trail of Lights is back on for the next five years, and I don’t care.

I know, I just spewed pure blasphemy from my fingertips as I typed that out. But let me tell you where I’m coming from.

I’m a native Austinite. For as long as I can remember, my parents took my brothers and me to the Trail of Lights every year. And I have glorious, sparkling memories of those nights. The beauty of thousands of lights arranged in spectacularly strange and wonderful ways is something that never ages.

I remember spinning under the giant Zilker tree until I thought I’d puke, melting in the searing heat of those huge fire pits, and being utterly confused by the bizarre winter wonderland display at the end of the trail that played eerie Trans-Siberian Orchestra-esque music while flashing blue and pink light against a glittery white lion. I even got lost there one year. It may have been only 10 minutes, but those were the longest 10 minutes of my life.

My point here is that the Trail of Lights will never be like this again. The now-minimalistic Trail of Lights’ displays pale in comparison to the glittering landscape of my childhood. Over the years, the displays have been cut away because of energy costs, taking the charm out of the trail. It’s hard to see something so awesome be turned into something so … anticlimactic.

I understand why the trail has been cut back. The amount of energy and money wasted through turning tiny lights into massive displays is mind-boggling. And as someone who has been so, so many times, I admit to being more than a little jaded about it. But until the trail returns to its former glory, I really couldn't care less.