After a short introduction of myself, I would like to introduce you to my habitat: Central Texas. It is eleven-thirty in the morning as I type this post, and the temperature is already pushing ninety degrees fahrenheit, thirty-two degrees celsius, and humid. In other words, it’s already pushing blisteringly hot. Why I continue to sit outside to write is beyond me, although my best guess is that I somehow subconsciously feel that writing while submerged in painful heat, I will better be able to portray the agony of it.
People have often told me that they can’t picture me living in Texas when I’m older. As far as I can tell, people picture right. It’s not that I don’t love it here, that it isn’t ‘home’. But I also can’t say honestly that someday someplace else won’t be ‘home’, and that this won’t be the setting of my past, the place of my childhood. There is much that I love about Texas. I love the rolling thunderstorms, the smell of cool rain hitting the hot pavement, the explosion of green in the spring, the excitement of getting half-an-inch of crusty, brown snow, and most of all, the memories that I have invested in this environment.
But I can also honestly say that there is much that I don’t love about Texas. I won’t go too into detail about the poisonous and irritating bugs, the heat, the fact that six years out of ten we are in a drought, the cacti that are as tall as I am, the occasional accent that makes me wish I had a hearing aid to turn off, the animal mounts and cow carpets in friends’ and strangers’ houses, or the fact that you can’t walk through your own backyard in the summer without seeing spots and losing a day off of your life-span. No, I won’t go too into detail about any of that.
All I will say is that I want to live somewhere that I can sit in the grass under the shade and read a book in the summertime without melting and being eaten alive by insidious insects, where I can wear my winter clothes for more than two weeks out of the year, and where I can order a double-shot espresso without getting a funny look from the barista, because I don’t want something with way-too-much sugar in it.
Texas is like the Australia of Central America. We have every known kind of poisonous snake, centipedes that grow up to six inches long, scorpions that crawl out of the drain, and spiders that can make your flesh rot and fall off. Now I must qualify with the good things: we have many beautiful plants (sans thorns), lots of nice things like butterflies, rivers that aren’t always low and stagnant, and a rich culture and history. Just the other day I was watching the most adorable baby squirrel frolic through the underbrush, and it was very refreshing. Until a hawk swooped down and grabbed it for dinnertime. That was just a few weeks after I came home from running to find my dog sitting on the porch with a fluffy tale hanging out of her mouth, her eyes and perked-up ears screaming, “Look what I finally caught!” Welcome to Texas.
Sometimes I wonder why people even live here in the first place, and then I remember. Oh yeah, you can buy a house in Texas twice the size of one in California for half of the price. Everything is bigger in Texas! But who wants to dust that much? And then of course you have to wonder why people would rather pay the extra amount to live other places. There are reasons. Welcome to Texas.
Now my opinion of the area is certainly biased, and not at all what everyone would think. Don’t let me dissuade you from experiencing the hidden beauty that hides behind the heat waves and cacti, because there is much. You will certainly get a heart-warming welcome here, in every sense of the word ‘warming’.
Welcome to Texas!