Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

AUSTIN, TEXAS: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT




Post by Laura Moliter

I remember my first week in Texas in 1988 like it was yesterday.  The plane landed on a hot summer night at Mueller Airport, now long defunct, but whose tower just happens to be the view from the porch of current home in a new and thriving Austin neighborhood.

The airport tower may have been about the only thing I really saw as I landed in the city back then, since it was pitch black out. I would have chosen an earlier arrival time, but back in those days, the flights into Austin’s little provincial airport were not frequent, and I suppose this was the only one I could get out of the Washington, DC, area where I was living at the time.


I moved to Austin after having an epiphany that I needed to get my unfinished degree and that it should be, of all places, at the University of Texas. But I actually knew in my heart – and was probably just fooling myself and others – that it wasn’t school or degrees or journalism that was really calling me. It was Texas.


Back to the old airport. As I mentioned, I only saw the tower that now graces my neighborhood street (they light it up at Christmastime next to its last runway, now grown over with weeds and deterioration), but my other senses took in a depth, a color, a touch of air on skin, that invited me deeper in and there was, on that very first sultry summer night, no turning back for me.  


Walking out of the airport, the air buzzed with insects, and that air was heavy in a way which surely should have felt oppressive, but instead it felt like an embrace. I noted and have tried to put my finger on a sort of sweet smell, a mixture of foliage, freshness, and heat, blending comfortably with a peace and harmony in the sounds that the bugs made and that the light breeze carried to my ears. The black sky stretched out before me like an upward-rising extension of the runway I had just left, and I felt like I truly could smell a new adventure that also felt like home.



I spent that first night in a flea-bag motel near an exit ramp of I-35 – not knowing what I had reserved and blindly chosen for proximity to the University – and was watched over by the motel staff with loving care. My mom phoned the motel office at one point to try to reach me when I was out, and later told me that the man who answered said, “Oh, is that the little red haired girl? She just left.” Nice and typically Austin



The next morning beckoned me early into the city, all brand new for me, full of the possibilities, free of encumbrances, and just beautiful in the light of day. The sky was huge and the clouds were different than any I’d seen in Wisconsin or Virginia, with a flatness to the bottom of them like they were butting against an invisible line before they intruded too far onto the sacred plain.


I remember checking out the campus, but mostly I remember just walking in a daze, looking at the sky, the city’s eclectic nature, blending Western style with the school’s Spanish-looking architecture and the city’s Mexican influence, along with something simply and uniquely and weirdly just Austin’s own essence. This Yankee even ended up chowing down on a big plate of Mexican food, something I am really not that fond of. But you can’t go three blocks in Austin without bumping into SEVERAL of them and after my really, really long walk while assessing my unknown future life, the meal tasted like a very spicy and filling heaven.

Austin got into my heart easily and without effort, and the Yankee girl found her new Texas home. I did get my degree in a fast-paced two years, but I also got spoiled by the sunny weather (it was more mild in those days than it is now), Town Lake, the inexpensive housing (compared to the cities on the Beltway at least!), the general cleanliness and brightness of things, and last but not least, the utter friendliness and warmth of the people.

I distinctly remember that on my first phone calls home I waxed on and on and on about how nice everyone was. It seemed almost comical at first, but now I’ve gotten accustomed to people going out of their way to be friendly to the point of feeling mean when I don’t’ respond in kind – but I do still recognize and am grateful for the natural cordiality in many of the people here, especially the natives, one of whom I found so nice and warm, I decided to marry him!

And the love story continues right near the old airport site where it all began.

Laura Moliter is a Christian Science Practitioner, a spiritual healing professional. You can find out more about her at www.beingfreenow and read her weekly spiritual blog, “Listen Up and Lighten Up,” at www.lamolitercs.wordpress.com.

(photo courtesy of Austin History Center)

Texas Culture, Weather


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