What Makes Me Texan by Nature – Christie Cowan

What makes me Texan by Nature?

In simplest terms, my unwavering loyalty and pride for all things truly Texan make me Texan by Nature. My born and raised standard for quality brisket, my instinctual conviction to be friendly yet fierce, and my fiery adoration for what’s inarguably and unobtainably better in Texas – from NASA to queso to honky tonks – all make me Texan by Nature; but what I’ve grown to love and admire most about Texas is its wide-open spaces.

My love for Texas began in my hometown, Houston, Texas. Houston, the Energy Capital of the World, is an unlikely birthplace for a nature-phile; and, although there wasn’t a plethora of “wide-open spaces,” I started small by initially admiring what was in my backyard. Adjacent to my backyard was Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, a green oasis within concrete-laden Houston. In a time before iPads and social media, I spent every waking minute exploring what was in that nature sanctuary, from armadillos to Mockingbirds to Gulf Coast toads. This nature sanctuary established my love for the natural world, setting a precedence for me to seek out green spaces from my childhood throughout college, but Texas landscapes didn’t take an inescapable hold on me until my first job out of college, in an unlikely setting.

Unexpectedly, starting my career in a corporate technology job deepened my love for landscapes. Day in, day out, sitting in that cubical transformed my love for wide-open spaces into a fundamental need. Wide-open spaces provided balance to my workplace surroundings – the grey walls, florescent light, and artificially amplified white noise dulled my senses. My cube became a launching pad for exploring more outdoor spaces, leading me to State and National Parks in every cardinal corner of Texas – distances which, in any other state, would be a multi-state adventure (or require airfare). Experiencing the beauty within these parks uncovered an urge for me to protect the land I connected with so deeply.

As a Texan, by nature, I declare to any willingly open and unfamiliar ears that Texas boasts the most diverse set of parks unmatched by any other state; Mars-esque deserts, towering tall pines, hilly horizons filled with blue-flowered fields, stretches of salty shorelines, and the darkest skies in the lower 48. Along my road trips – from El Paso to East Texas – the Texans I’ve met mimic their landscape’s diversity yet share the same state pride. The more I get to know the diversity that lies within these landscapes, the more I’ve come to realize that the land and people in Texas are undeniably interwoven.

As Texans, taking care of our Lone-Star landscapes sustains what is precious to us, like Blue Bell, bluebonnets, bighorn sheep, and Bob Wills’ Western swing. These Texas landscapes led me to where I am, fulfilling my dream of preserving what I love most about Texas. I’m proud to be born and raised Texan, I’m grateful to be Texan by Nature.

Find out what makes our staff Texan by Nature on our blog.