So we’ve been just south of Austin for the last week, having chosen a home close to where a FB friend lives (Hi
Rhae!). Originally, we were planning on making the drive into Austin, but instead we just hung around soaking up the (almost) rural Texas life. Rhae picked me up and we chatted IRL, getting to know each other, then she took me on a drive, pointing out areas of interest, then to Austin where I got a quick tour and some tea and soap from her fav store. So delightful! And helpful.
For example, she told me these are Cow Egrets. The birds were hanging out on the backs of the cows and it was so charmingly bucolic that I asked her to stop for a pic and of course the birds all took flight. Egrets in flight, y’all.
When we drove from Amarillo to Abilene then to Austin, it was raining and gray. We noticed the disappearance of the desert and increase in short trees and hills, but it wasn’t until the sun came out a few days later that we saw all the GREEN. All of a sudden (or so it seemed) everything is GREEN. Trees everywhere. Lots of fields. Green, green, green. And the humidity is in the air, making it feel thick. In the space of three days we went fro 6900 Ft in altitude with air so dry it felt like it was pulling moisture from your skin to air so thick it feels like its work to pull in a full breath. Perhaps it’s all the extra oxygen from these leave-bearing plants.
I have been slowing down, being more in the moment. My life with Jeff (my late husband) was fraught with tension. Not only was he was a drama queen, lived life in a hell-bent-for-leather kind of pace, but there was the very really tension of his failing health, never knowing if a trip to the emergency room was on the day’s agenda. I had been keyed up for so long, I created a lot of drama in my life after he died because it was….familiar. But now, 10 years later, and after a lot of work, I am letting that go. I stepped out on our porch in Buda after dark to listen to the frogs singing. Just sitting there, allowing the warm, humid night air wash over me while listening to nature. I reflected on how hard that has been for me. In Alameda, we started going to the park to watch the sun set over the Bay, and I would get antsy after just a few minutes. But now, I can stay for longer and longer periods of time, being in the moment, feeling the space around me, the space that is so different from what I am used to. And I feel blessed.
The BF & I drove around Buda and neighboring Kyle and found….PIE! We stopped and had lunch, and I bought a “Southern Pecan” pie to take home (4″). Wow, that was rich. I had to eat it in batches, and this from a gal who can put away a pint of Haagen Daas at one sitting. We are going to local places as much as possible, although we went to a Cracker Barrel in Buda because I wanted breakfast and he wanted lunch. But in general, we’re after the local experience. What we’re getting in Texas is food with a lot of fat — cheese on everything, vegetables creamed or mixed with bacon. It’s hard to eat healthy here. Thank god we had a kitchen so I could cook a few meals.
There is a bowling alley/movie theater/gaming arcade/restaurant complex in Buda (which, I found out yesterday is not a misspelling of Buddha. Buda is the spanish word for widow and pronounced buena (sort of). Buda was on the stagecoach line and a widow ran the stop/restaurant, so the coach drivers would say “we’re stopping at the widow’s” and the name stuck). Anyway. Bowling!! The BF has been bowling for exercise off and on for a couple of years now, but I have not been for about 25 years. It was more fun than I expected, although my game went to shit after the 5th frame — but that’s because I’m out of shape. I’ll go bowling with him again as we cross the country. It IS good exercise — I totally worked up a sweat. No, I did not bowl a strike — this is just a celebration of being there and getting it done.
Another task on our local agenda was BBQ. We found a couple of places, one just off the highway access road outside of Kyle. It was an old ice house and the owners only had it for a few months. The food was good, if fattening, and we liked supporting the new guys.
A few days later, we headed to a local joint — Willie’s Joint, whose name we were told is a play on Willie’s legendary liking of joints in general. We arrived at sunset, and there is a large outdoor space. Being a weekday, there wasn’t live music, but there was plenty of ambiance.
Sitting under the tree (oak?), listening to country music watching the sun go down, I was struck by the pattern right in front of me. Part of slowing down and noticing things, capturing beauty as it appears. The spell was broken with the food appeared.The BF had the “Elvis” which turned out to be BBQ beef brisket sandwich with peanut butter and jelly. I stuck with the more traditional ribs. We were both satisfied and happy.
Next stop: Austin
Start the Journey Here