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You Might Be In Texas 🤠

You can tell you're in Texas by the roadkill. Somewhere past Arkansas it changes from raccoon and pos

a good life

May 9 · Issue #56 · View online
I write thoughtful self-help

You can tell you’re in Texas by the roadkill. Somewhere past Arkansas it changes from raccoon and possum to armadillo. It’s comforting to see regional differences, even if it’s in the form of blood and guts on the highway. 
There was a brief stretch along twenty where the landscape wasn’t pillaged. Not yet arid, with low-slung trees on rolling hills, and the big Texas sky. One has to pay attention to catch the pretty parts. 
Love it or hate it, Texas is stubbornly its own thing. It’s contrary and defensive, like a sullen high school boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks. A fun detour into a dirty pickup truck until you head off to college.
Other things about North Texas: Nightclub-decibel country music is piped at you while pumping gas. Sheriffs’ vehicles speed by with the words IN GOD WE TRUST sprawled across the back. Texas likes to turn up the volume.  Johnny Cash notwithstanding, I’m not an appreciative audience for either.
Twice I walked in on old men peeing in gender neutral bathrooms with the door unlocked. The world may may change around them, but they will use the Starbucks bathroom just as they please.
It wasn’t until I boondocked in a Walmart in Snyder, Texas that I appreciated how particular Texas subcultures are. The pickup trucks decorated just so, groups of women with exactly the same bun squarely on the top of their heads. They reminded me of mormons. The chicano version of a tight, insular community. 
Still, Texas feels aggressive and I can no longer abide rough treatment. I happily move on to my intended destination.

The oil wells continue from Texas to New Mexico but the color of the earth changes from a deep, clay red to a hazy brown. It’s all desolate and eye-popping, utterly foreign.
We pressed on over Cloudcroft which turned into a trial by fire lesson in mountain driving. My nerves are still recovering. Note to self, do not follow google maps without checking elevations. 
What followed were two intense days where I schooled myself on torque bands, weight distribution, and strategies for going up and down the mountains. I’m about to test all that knowledge on the road from Santa Fe to Taos. My next digest may be about how I had to abandon my camper on the mountain.
These trips are somewhat about throwing myself into the deep end and finding a way out. It’s a stressful way to learn for someone with anxiety, but I always emerge to something better. A more solid idea of the world and how to maneuver in it. One by one, removing the obstacles to coveted experiences. Reshaping who I am to myself.
I spent two days at White Sands National Park which is a gem of a place. Sunrise hikes in my bare feet, sunbathing for ten minutes at a time in the intense sun, making my lunch in the perfectly minimal picnic shelters, sunset walks with the ranger; I did it all. 
This is a place to forget yourself. 
There is no room for intrusive thoughts in the face of such beauty. I am immersed in it, and the joy of trying to take a good photo.
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Sunset in a Walmart parking lot in Snyder, Texas.
White Sands National Monument.
Sunset at White Sands National Park
Cactus in bloom, White Sands National Monument
Unknown wildflower in TN
Falls along a trail in Lake Catherine State Park, AK
Rebecca's picks 👇🏼
This week’s picks are about subcultures. I love them and dream about finding one I can photograph.
For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection  - The New York Times For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection - The New York Times
This photographer travels through the rural South taking photographs of its people. She’s incredible, follow her.

Instagram post by Stacy Kranitz Instagram post by Stacy Kranitz
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