I was sitting at the local coffee shop in South Carolina a week or two ago, reading my annotated Pride and Prejudice. The sun was warm and a cool breeze was slowly cooling off my toasted bagel. Bing Crosby was quite unexpected. Doooon't fence me in...
People make fun and laugh. They think about cowboys and the Alamo and the fact that it has the highest rate of execution in the USA. (And don’t get me started on the Bushs’) And sure, I make fun too. But that’s not what I really think of.
There is something very special about Texas that most of the time I can’t put my finger on. I only lived there for a few years, but it made an impression.
Today, while drinking my coffee, instead of leaving for work like I should have been, a vision passed my eyes. It was so vivid and huge I almost cried for missing it.
The heat of the day finally breaks. It’s about an hour away from sunset but that last hour drags out what seems like forever. The light is still good but limited due to the clouds in the far distance. A batch of blackness looms in the far, far distance. (The Texas sky is so big you can see that far.) The storm is coming. You can smell it. Then a small flash off in the distance. Yep. Big one.
Bright blue sky to your left, blackness to your right and yet the bright of the day still all around. And the wind starts to pick up. You can see it coming from over the plains. The taller grasses sway, then whip over and starts a wave of grass headed toward you. It hits you and it’s cool. A delicacy for a day as hot as today. The grass starts to collect the moisture in the air. It’s that time of year before it gets burnt by the sun but is long due to a kind spring. And even though you’ll get chigers (little bugs in the grass) itching your skin, you’ll roll around, lie in the grass because it’s so thick and comfortable and beautiful.
You’ll lie there and watch the giant white clouds pass by waiting for the storm clouds to stomp out their more beautiful brothers.
And in those moments, the world is so big. You could run into those empty fields and run and run and feel like it would never end.
But then the rain would start. Grab your things and start moving towards the safety of home.
As a young girl, I always wished I would meet a boy in the rain and take cover under one of the enormous trees in the county, trees that were there even before Texas was part of the Union, and kiss until the rain stopped. (Not even considering how stupid being under a large tree during a lightening storm really is…)
So now I find myself looking out the window, as I should be entering meaningless data into the spreadsheet. And it’s snowing. The dirt in the air is picked up by the snow, making it a sickly color that snow should not be. And everything is dead except these pine trees. And the horizon is barely visible through the snow and smog. There is no wind. And it never rains here, not really, no like there. And the sky is so little, if you can imagine such a thing. This basin the city sits in makes me claustrophobic. Even out hiking and being in the outdoors you are surrounded by rocks.
Texas is not a perfect place. There is pollution. There is crime and there are people who are cruel and mean. There are animal abusers and contractors who walk out on their jobs. People who chew with their mouth open and litter on the highways. And the allergies are icky. But that’s everywhere right?
Give me green grass and thick leafy trees, room to breath and rain. Warmth without the sun burning through the ozone. Skin that doesn’t shrink and shrivel in a city without moisture. (I'll be so glad to head back home soon, even if that place isn't Texas.)