“I’m an American by birth, but I’m a Texan by the Grace of God.” – Larry Gatlin
I keep wanting to pinch myself as I drive around town and look out at the landscape. It almost seems unreal that I am here in the Texas Hill Country. I’m not sure I could describe the feeling to someone who hasn’t seen the area themselves or lived here for very long. I’ve never known a Texan that didn’t like the area (especially around Austin and San Antonio) if they spent long enough there to get off of a major freeway and explore. It truly is a wonderful sight to a post-homesick native Texan – especially this year with all of the green lush grass from the unusual rains that we’ve had. Creek beds that are dry most of the year are trickling, the temperature is mild, and deer are all over the place. When the sun has come out in the past few days to paint the sky blue, it has been almost enough to make me cry. When I think of sunny days, I always think of this area. Of course, I know that the sun shines elsewhere… but my “geographical” heart has always been here: “deep in the heart of Texas”.
Instead of taking pictures for you myself, I’ve borrowed a lovely painting off the net. It has such a pretty view of the type of landscape that makes up much of the hill country. You have varying degrees of hills in the Hill Country (tall cliffs such as the famous one that houses the Mexican restaurant “The Oasis” next to Lake Travis, and the rolling hills you see in the background of the painting). Often you will pass an old barn and windmill – the last signs of the glory days of ranching in Texas – as you drive through the Hill Country.
I love windmills and tin roofs. I grew up in a house built over a creek in the Hill Country for quite a number of years. When it rained on our tin roof, it sounded like a herd of cattle stampeding overhead. After the rains, the dry creek under the house and deck would rush with foaming water and listening to it lulled us to sleep. In the late evening and night, the whippoorwill’s ghostly call reminded us that the day was nearing an end. If we were lucky, there would be a hundred fireflies twinkling to make the starry sky seem to fall into the canopy of twisted oaks and cedars around us. We might hear a coyote or wolf bay at the moon or see a silver fox try to make off with some garbage at our fire pit in the dusky morning. The mist might spin a skirt of fog around the hills so thick that you couldn’t see two feet in front of your face. I used to run down a limestone driveway to catch the school bus through the morning mist and I knew every rock on the path above our house leading up to that terrific view of the valley.
To me, this place is home. The smell of the earth after it rains here is as entrenched in my memory as my grandma’s Estée cologne. I love the road runners, the live oaks, the lakes and hills, the cowboy hats and friendly faces on local people, the limestone and cedar ranch fencing and the amazing food. I know why Lady Bird Johnson loved it here so much. I know why so many people keep moving here (although it is sad to see so much beautiful land destroyed by builders and businesses). The Texas Hill Country is my favorite place to live.
I hope to have some interesting photos and field trips to share with you soon as we begin our new adventure here. I hope we get to stay forever… or as long as God allows. I am so thankful to Him for all the blessings that He has given us. Sometimes I just can’t help get tears in my eyes, filled with amazement that I am here – in this beautiful place… and Kevin loves this job, and we like our new home, and we are surrounded by wonderful people and close to family. What a joy… and what a sweet thing to know that the God of the universe cares not only about our needs… but also our desires. He has given me so many desires that I have had in my life. He is amazing.
Psalm 37:4 ~ Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.