Melting in the hot summer sun of Texas has never been fun, particularly for someone as pale as me. I don’t just burn. I sizzle.
Despite the bizarre weather Texas offers, I have grown to love my home state. I had the opportunity to live across the country, and I can honestly say Texas has a unique and beautiful personality.
My childhood summers were spent being bitten by mosquitoes and camping under the stars. Every morning, my parents pushed me out of the house to play outside with my fellow neighborhood children. We spent hours riding bikes, playing in the sprinklers, and getting into all kinds of shenanigans.
Garland, Texas, does not offer many opportunities to be active in nature. My family camped constantly over the summer, traveling throughout Texas and New Mexico. My dad taught my brother and I how to start a fire using a magnifying glass (I am still terrible at it years later), we hiked nature trails, and we came back to the tent hungry for s’mores.
Our most memorable adventure was to Dinosaur Valley in Glen Rose. The river flows behind the campsites, and we always chose the spot closest to the water (you can probably see where this is going). We were sound asleep after a long day of skipping rocks, when we heard a thundering boom. A huge Texas summer storm had blown in and was flooding our campsite. We had to abandon our tent (and some of our gear) and spent the night in a seedy motel. While this isn’t the most pleasant of camping stories, it was a powerful experience in the natural beauty of Texas. To this day, I love Texas thunderstorms (except when I am trying to camp in a tent).
As a college student with an internship, a job, school, volunteer work, and family and friend obligations, it is definitely a challenge to find time to have adventures. However, I am lucky to live in Austin which has a unique balance between nature and urban living, keeping people active and outside. However, living in a 600 square foot apartment does not allow enough room for my two dogs to get their energy out. My husband and I take them to a local park every weekend, letting them run free, and they absolutely love it. We will spend hours playing in the creek, running along the path, or even picnicking to take time to spend in the sunshine (lathered in sunscreen, of course). On the way home, they are always worn out from the day’s adventures, and have to be dragged home.
Despite the ultraviolet flaws, Texas will always be home. I was raised Texan by Nature, and I will continue to embrace it.