I took this photo with my iphone standing in the Kroger parking lot. That’s how amazing the sunset was last night. I wish I could have captured how truly rich the colors were.
So far, living in Texas for almost a year now, I have to say that I love the sunsets, the wildflowers in Spring and the mild winters. I don’t love the heat and humidity. The humidity is thick and heavy down here near Houston. It feels like you’re wearing a heavy, wet winter coat when you go outside.
I live on the edge of the Houston expansion. The big city is quickly spreading and I live with constant road construction as they are building the highways to get people back and forth to the city quickly. It’s a weird place to be – in between. In one direction is city life but simply look behind you and you’re in ranch land full of horses and cattle dotted with small Texas towns that look like they are sets for a cowboy movie.
I see longhorn cattle fenced beside the Home Depot. I watch people ride their horses to the corner Mexican food truck. It’s just weird how quickly I can drive from the city to the wide expanse of cattle land.
I’m getting used to seeing cowboy hats everywhere and those hats driving their big #*$$ trucks. Everyone has a huge truck. I see the Cowboy Churches and I can’t help but laugh. I know it’s a real and good thing, but it sounds so funny to my non-cowboy ears.
People around me are okay with the heat, the threat of hurricanes and having to drive “an hour” (which the answer to every distance question). Texans love Texas and all the terrible things just don’t seem to matter to them. Love is blind, I guess.
My neighbors are commenting that the scorpions, snakes, and spiders like they’re talking about an annoying pet cat, but after my scorpion scare in the first few weeks of being in my house, I hired an exterminator. So, I’m pest free. Knock on wood.
I’m still freaked out about the crawdads that live in my yard. Sometimes I don’t really believe they are there since I’ve only seen one dead one in my driveway when we first moved here. But after every rain, the crawdad chimneys pop up all over my backyard reminding me that those critters are living in their water-filled burrows under my feet. So creepy. So weird.
Steave planted a squash plant in his little raised bed garden area. The next day the whole plant was gone and there was a crawdad hole in its place. Just like Bugs Bunny pulling the carrots down into his tunnel, a crawdad stole our plant.
I miss home. Sometimes badly. Home is familiar. The trees and plants, wildlife and birds were familiar. The smells, the temperature, the feel of the place was familiar. I knew the rhythms of the seasons. I could sense bad weather coming without a weather report. I knew the direction storms would take. I could look at the clouds and the color of the sky and know. Georgia is lush, verdant, green and thriving. A relatively short ride can take you to the coast, the mountains or hikes by rivers in dense deciduous forests. Heaven.
Texas is desperate. Survival against extremes is the natural theme here.
Everything is straining. Everything is difficult and hard. The plants and animals express that in the way they look and the way they act. Trees grow crooked straining against the wind or straining toward the water or trying not to drown in the heavy, sudden downpours. Wildlife doesn’t play. They fight for survival and they fight each other. If a plant has water or fruit, it has weapons to protect itself in the form of thorns or spikes. Every man, plant and animal for himself. The wild west.
My neighbors stay closed up in their homes (in the air-conditioning) threatening everyone with signs and stickers that they have alarms, cameras, guns and what they’ll do to you if you try to take their guns away. It’s not totally without friendliness and welcome, but there is just an air of survival, protecting what you have with side-eye glances and wariness.
I’m still a foreigner here. I still have to use my GPS to find my way around. Road names sound strange. Roads are named after the German and Slavic settlers like Mueschke, Kuykendal, and Klein. I don’t know the history here. I don’t know what happened on this spot. Back in Georgia, I knew the history, the battles, and my family’s place in it. I recognized the road names from history.
All of that comes from time spent and over 30 years of learning. But I miss familiarity.
I’ll get used to it here, I guess, eventually. I’ll update you on how I feel about Texas when I’m 80. Or maybe I’ll move on by then, riding off into the sunset.