Travel Stories: Texas Part I

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in late April. I’m sitting on the front porch of my best friend’s home, swaying back and forth on a rocking chair relishing the quiet. This part of northeast Texas, in the prairie and lakes region, 20 miles south of the Oklahoma border, is beautiful. Patches of woodland are sprinkled throughout this grassland prairie. The land is gently rolling to hilly. This region is sometimes called “cross timbers” because the patches of treed areas cross strips of prairie grassland.

Farms and small communities dot the landscape and merge with the rolling hills and swaths of land covered with cottonwood, hickory, walnut and pecan trees. Bluebonnets, Indian Paint Brushes and Creeping Jenny wildflowers color the roadside like a Monet painting. Life here is simple. An hour south is the bustling metropolis of Dallas. And here, north of the big city, one only sees the wide open sky when they look up, not the mass of metal and glass skyscrapers.

I’m sitting on the porch listening in the quiet. One can sit in silence when in the country, but it’s never quiet. Here I enjoy the song of leaves as the wind bustles through – raising and lowering. A crescendo that never subsides. In this place of solace I relish in the chirping and warbling from birds. Cardinals with their brilliant red stand out amongst the hues of green from trees and vegetation. Doves, hummingbirds and bluebirds and the occasional woodpecker join the chorus.

My best friend lives on two acres outside of town with neighbors here and there. On this warm spring day, someone is mowing their lawn from a distance. An occasional vehicle drives by. Every evening we sit on the porch watching for the rabbits to frolic and do their mating dance on the front yard. We watch birds fly in and out of the majestic pecan tree grabbing for seeds in the bird feeder or picking up the ones fallen on the ground. Like clockwork, soon after dinnertime, water frogs start their evening song in the creek adjacent to the house. The June bug comes out of hiding. It’s a majestic symphony lasting well into the night. I sit here in quiet, listening.

I’m here for two weeks this time, not the usual 4-5 days as previous trips. During the day I work and in the evening sit on the porch. Many mornings we’ll come out with our coffee, shawls wrapped around our shoulders and socks on our feet. Still in our jammies we’ll sit in the rocking chairs and greet the morning. Waking up slowly and easing into the day in this part of Texas is a welcome respite from my usual routine in the city. There’s no rush to get anywhere but to the front porch to sit quietly and listen.