Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Capturing Cultural Clues Cross Country Part 2

Houston – When I stepped off the plane in my home state, my first time in Texas in over 8 months, I was greeted by a stifling warm hug.The Texas humidity I had bragged about, longed for, and written about, was sticking to my skin in a warm welcome. I had to quickly change planes for one more flight into the air and through the sky, holding my breath that I don’t crash before I return home, where my heart can breathe and sigh and jump in the same state it did for the first 20 years of my life.
It was wonderful to be back ‘home’. Home in this case is my parents’ house which they purchased when I was going into my Senior year in college. Although I never lived here for more than a few months at a time (that’s another story…) it has the personal touches that my parents have chosen to express themselves, and a little room full of all the junk I grew up with. As soon as I dropped my bags I wandered from room to room noticing a new framed picture in Dad’s study, new and newly arranged furniture in mom’s art room. Then I jumped into some things I had been waiting to be home to do- digging out some forgotten clothes and items from my room, using mom’s extensive beading collection to make some earrings with hummingbird feathers that I collected this summer, saving my computer onto my backup hard drive, etc. I couldn’t stay up too late because I had to leave early in the morning to drive to Marble Falls, home of a past Outdoor School  I had worked at, to volunteer for a week.  
I woke up an hour early to go for a morning run. Although we had moved from the neighborhood I had grown up in, I missed running through neighborhoods, smelling laundry detergent and grills going as I passed each different house. This morning’s run would prove much different, however. First of all, I had heard so often that when you’re used to running at elevation (I’ve been living at 7500 feet for about a year), then running at sea level is a breeze. This is a flat lie. While I did have some success with this later in my journey, I would like to state that even as an asthmatic, it is much easier to run up and down low hills in the mountains than to run through thick humidity. 
The air was especially thick because we had just received a much needed rain. Although the grass usually cracks under your feet and the trees look like they could topple over at this time in Austin, everything was green. Sunlight danced through the trees, held in mid-air by the humidity. As I jogged along thinking about how jungle-like everything seemed, I was startled by a few deer frolicking across the street and up a ways from where I was running. I slowed down a bit, as one ran in front of me, leaping over a fence into the bushes, but the other stayed, staring at me with a look of, “what are you running from?” He kept his glance and as I ran by, he started to follow me! (Un)Fortunately he didn’t go far, and I continued trudging through my jog, impressed by the massive amounts of mourning doves acquiring on the power lines, and hopping from street to street as I passed. Although I grew up in central Texas, I had been away just long enough to think the measely Prickly Pear and yucca of the desert uplands were normal. I had forgotten what truth there is to the old saying, “everything’s bigger in Texas.”

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