Why do you live where you live?

16 January 2014

Every time we tell people that we moved to Texas from Colorado, we get a look that says, "Oh, I'm so sorry."  Then when we tell people that the move was voluntary and without direct purpose (we had no jobs to come to, etc.), we get a look that says, "Well, I don't know why I am still talking to this obviously delusional person."  And this is from Texans who love their state, mind you. 

So for the last five years, I have been running a constant dialog in my head about what makes this place special to us.  Why did we choose here.  Why does anybody live in the place that they live?  A lot of times it comes down to money or apathy (neither of which are obstacles that can't be overcome in searching for 'home').  In the United States, we are so mobile and we are descended from people on the move.  The explorers, immigrants, pioneers, adventurers, and opportunity-seekers have given us a legacy of finding our own place in this world and staking our claim.  So why do you claim the place that you have staked?

For us I think the answer is two fold.  There is a culture of Texas that is different that what you find elsewhere.  I still can't describe what exactly it is, you just have to come and experience it for yourself.  It is not that everything is unique, since other states have many of the same attractions as Texas, but no other place has the same things in the same combination (if that makes any sense at all).  And then again, there are a lot of unique aspects of Texas (where else can you run into famous musicians sitting under an oak tree outside a post office/general store in a town with a population of two, playing in a picking circle?).  It is a big state, and within its borders lies such a diversity of people, food, music, ideas, scenery, politics, weather, fashion, lifestyles, interests, and well...what more do you need?

I could give a thousand reasons why I love the state of Texas.  From the food (Bar-b-que, queso, tamales, pecan pralines, chicken fried steak, etc.), to the activities and places (watching the sun set on Enchanted Rock, crossing the dunes to the beach at Port Aransas, hiking around alligators at Brazos Bend, ordering lunch at the City Meat Market in Giddings, walking the grounds of the capitol for the millionth time, etc.), to the people (from the ones that make us proud to the ones that earn a Bum Steer...and the fact that everyone can find a voice here) there are a lot of reasons to love this state. 

However, for me, there is also another reason why I live here. 

For me, the culture of Texas is the gravy.  The meat of living here is a connection to something older and deeper than all of that.  My family first settled here between the Brazos River and Oyster Creek.  We now live on Oyster Creek and the hosptial where my children were/and will be born sits on the banks of the Brazos River.  Those children are ninth generation Texans (I was born here before the long sojourn in Colorado).  There is a heritage there that extends far back before people were eating bowlfuls of queso, and Spring Breaking at South Padre. There were really high times of prominence for my family and also really tough times of uncertainty.  But they chose Texas, a choice that probably got them some of the same looks that I get today.

We may not stay here forever.  The pull of family and friends in Colorado is strong.  But the feeling of connection to a place and finding people that are just like you, and discovering new people that make you smile (instead of roll your eyes) makes us feel like home.  Colorado has lots of wonderful things to offer as well.  But for a little while, at least, we needed a little Texas. 

Why do you live where you do?  Family, jobs, a crazy desire to try someplace different?  Please do tell.  I would love to hear your story.

I use the royal we quite liberally, as Jonny is a Colorado native and his connection to Texas is through me.  Though I think that he has found a great love of place and culture here.  He aimed more for the adventure and discovery than for a connection to the past in moving here.  His willingness to walk hand in hand with me wherever we live is one of the reasons that I will always feel at home, no matter the geographical coordinates.
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