A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Got Here As Fast As I Could

When Sarah was 7 years old we purchased our place in the Texas Hill Country. We had spent 2 years searching; following up all leads we got from the small town newspapers we subscribed to. Originally we were only looking for 5 acres but ended up with 54. Things happen that way sometimes!

I had been working part time and when we purchased the property I went to work full time to help pay for it. I worked in a small office with a couple of women. One, Terese, was very nice and the other, Cathy, was somewhat annoying. She prided herself on being a “native Texan” and never let a chance go by to look down her nose at me for not being born in Texas. I should have pointed out to her that William Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett had not been born here either, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

(Photos - John  and Zac canoeing on Llano with Rickie; Lisa and Larry on Copperas Creek near Roosevelt)

Why this mattered to her, I don't know. But she considered herself Texan and me not.  She had one flaw in her claim to Texas over me though, in my opinion. She had never been outside the Houston area. She liked her subdivision only and had no love of the actual true heart of Texas. When my friend Terese and I would talk about the Hill Country, she would wrinkle up her nose. She had no love of the hills, and the plants, and the clear water, and the rocks! She liked her concrete and her Homeowner’s Association rules.

(Photo - Llano River at Yates Crossing)

Terese said something to us one day that has stuck with me. She said either you are drawn to the Hill Country or you are not. And those of us that are drawn to it can never explain it to the others or convince them of the beauty of it.

I consider myself lucky to be a person that is drawn to a certain area. Some people say they have no idea where they would live if they could live anywhere. I find that sad.

From the first time I went to the Hill Country, I was hooked. The clear air, the way it feels on your skin, the way the colors are brighter and clearer. The limestone and the way it tints the water of the Llano aqua colored. The whiteness of the limestone in the hills and the smell of caliche in the air. The far views, the beautiful sunsets, the live oaks and mesquites. The history of it and the culture of it and the toughness of the people and wildlife that inhabit it. My heart soars when I look out upon it. I pine away for it when I’m not there.  We would do anything in our power to have a place there and Rickie and I have sacrificed much in other areas of our life to make it happen.

(Photo - Nat, Sarah, and Lexi at Barton Springs in Austin)

There are other places I could live but they all have the same physical qualities. They are dry and have hills and plants that stick! They embody the westerners sense of independence and are a little bit wild, so that if you wandered off you might not make it back. If you are out of one of the cities they look a lot like they did 200 years ago.

My friend Myra feels this way about the Montana she calls home as does my mom-in-law Dot about her beloved Mississippi. And my sister Jackie about living near the coast. My cousin’s husband Ralph took us on a john boat tour of the bayou in South Louisiana one time and we saw the land through his eyes, the land he loved.

I hope you have a place you feel this way about whether it is in the country or the city. Someplace that you know you would pick if anyone asked you where would you live if you could live anyplace. And if you don't, I hope you go out and find that place!

"Land really is the best art." Andy Worhol


  1. Why is it, that no matter where you go, there's always a "Cathy"?

    Maybe the Cathys are there to help us appreciate the Tereses more...

    I love your little location and the fact that you enjoy it so much. I prefer a wetter, cooler clime, but to each her own! Some day I hope to have a small house modeled after yours.
    Thanks for sharing your pics!

  2. So true about people!

    I hope you get your little house soon and love it as much as I do mine! It is wonderful that there are so many beautiful and different places in the country and the world so we can all be in a place we like. This past summer in the drought I told my husband I sure would like to go visit some place green just to remember what it was like!

    Sometimes I think if we could control the weather would we want to because then it would all be alike. And that isn't maybe what we want. Although I would like to have the normal 24 inches of rain a year instead of the 8 we got last year!