This was my second visit to Texas. In my first I explored areas in around Houston, as well as Galveston. This time I was able to explore a wider area of this immense state, incidentally the state in which I was born and spent the first 5 years of my life.
In my friends, both the ones I had prior to the trip and the new ones I made while there, I experienced grace and sweetness. In strangers I found a friendliness that somehow seemed only skin deep. It was an attitude that felt deeply guarded. In the Midwest people wear their hearts on the sleeves. In Texas, at least in my experience, they wear them inside, only displaying them when they desire.
For an area that is so hot I found that many buildings are kept almost freakishly cold. I had assumed that the people there would be accustomed to warmth. They seem, however to be in a state of denial of it. A recent documentary I saw mentioned that the rapid growth of sunbelt cities would not have been possible with air conditioning. The people of Texas seem to have taken this and run with it. The spread out nature of these cities, making long commutes the norm and public transit virtually impossible, strains the energy supply and poisons the enviorment. Again, this is in contrast to my home town of Chicago and it's enviormentally friendly mindset. The green nature of my city is evident in the amount of wildlife, raccoons, possums, hares and even the occasional small fox, that exist in my city's parks.
I experienced a dry humor. As we left one small town the billboard outside a church bore the message "He who dies with the most toys is still dead!" I discovered great beauty in the hill country, still largely natural and pristine. Multihued birds flit through indigenous trees designed by nature to endure the sometimes harsh climate of the region. Meadows filled with wildflowers cover the rolling terrain. I've been told that in spring, when the bluebonnets are in bloom filling the fields with their color, is a sight one would find difficult to forget.
I found history, particularly in the areas in and around San Antonio. As I stood in a building 250 years old I pondered the lives of the people, with their own individual histories, that have passed through these walls and stood where I had. I pondered my own life and my own personal history , adding it to those who came before me.