The dust coating our van reminds me that we’re well on our way into the desert, though we’ll first have to conquer the Hill Country.
Between the swamps of Louisiana and the deserts of West Texas it lives, rolling, green, covered in live oaks and sycamores, streams and rivers galore meander through the countryside, on in to the shining beacon of progress and country music of Austin, Texas, and off to the Gulf of Mexico.
Though it’s all dust and dirt covering our van today, it was a thin sheet of ice only a few days ago when we made the trek from McKinney Falls State Park to Blanco, TX. Like the rest of the country, we’re enduring the unusually frigid climes that no one expects when they put their pin on the Texas map.
It was nearly two weeks of non-stop rain, and a sky painted grey from east to west. So yesterday as my eyes brushed off whatever dream I was already forgetting and peeked out through the van windows, when I saw it, I was elated. A silver circle in the sky, just barely cutting through slightly thinning clouds.
It was the sun, and it was promising to shine.
Twenty minutes or so later I’m pulling up my pants, lacing up my boots. I deliver myself into the day through the back doors and, though still literally freezing, all of the grey has disappeared. Big and blue the sky now coats us, and at least by the afternoons we’re lucky enough to have enough a semblance of heat to feel good enough to get out and explore.
The waterfalls of all of these rivers. The small towns like Luckenbach, TX where country music legends went to hide away in the still existent reminiscence of “Old Texas”. The massive ranches where white tail deer and mule deer coexist, where cattle with horns as large as most modern cars stare lazily the day away as pickup after pickup rolls on by.
Every time I come to Texas I fall a little more in love with the Lone Star State, and this time is no exception.
Night rolls in, it’s a full moon, and they tell me it’s the furthest away from our planet it will be for some time, but like everything here, it still looks bigger. It’ll freeze over again tonight but who can complain when you’re in such a rugged, such a real place.
God bless John Wayne.