Texas- My Connection to Place

Since Paganism at its most basic is a reverence and worship of the earth, it’s natural that us Pagans would feel profound connections to place. We all have those geographic locations that speak to us, and where we feel the strongest connection to earth and spirit. These places can be where we live, places where we have spent a lot of time, and new places that we are just discovering.  I do a lot of traveling within the United States and I have found many of these magical places in my journeys. I have also lived all over the United States, and from living in seven different states I have developed deep connections to three.

Arizona is my homeland. I grew up in Flagstaff, a beautiful little mountain town that sits at almost 7,000 feet. Even though it’s in Arizona, I grew up surrounded by snowy mountains and tall pine trees. The geography of Arizona is amazingly diverse, and you can go from being in the snow to being in the desert in less than two hours by car.  And Flagstaff is only 45 minutes away from Sedona, which is a true new age center and is full of powerful energy vortexes. I have spent uncountable hours in the backcountry of Sedona, and I have grown up with its spiritual energies in my veins. I was a lucky kid to have grown up where I did.

I have also lived in Wyoming, and while there developed a strong connection to the land. Wyoming has vast, sweeping expanses broken up by towering mountain ranges. It is desolate, and one of the windiest places in the U.S., but I really tapped into the earth while living there. All that big sky and rolling prairie got into my blood.

And then there’s Texas. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be speaking about my strong emotional and physical connection to Texas, but here it is. I had lived in states that made fun of Texas, and when driving around the country we often drove around Texas rather than face driving through it. But now I was going to actually live there.

I moved to the Lone Star state in 2005 to earn my MFA, after having a very rocky time at another school in a different state where I received an MA. So I was a little broken and disheveled when I got here. My husband and I first landed in Huntsville of all places, which is a tiny town in east Texas that is best known for its myriad of prisons. It also features the Texas Prison Museum which houses the original electric chair, ol’ sparky. Doesn’t really seem like a place where one could develop a profound connection to the earth, but Texas surprised me. I was almost immediately caught in its grip.

I loved the swampy heat and the fact that everything was green. I had never lived anywhere so green. And I instantly took to the sort of southern mentality that pervades here. Not the conservative attitudes, but the relaxed lifestyle and community.

We chose a rental place based on the yard (and price), and ended up in a trailer that sat on a rather large (make that large for a trailer- it wasn’t in a trailer park) plot of land. Soon I discovered that an amazing array of birds came to our yard, and I was surrounded by nature with plants, trees, birds, bugs, and wildlife everywhere. The trees were so tall. I loved laying in the yard and staring up into them. And yes, I was living in a trailer in East Texas- ye haw!

After Huntsville we moved to San Antonio, another spot I connected with immediately. The land and culture there is much different than Huntsville, but it still spoke to me. Here I found live oaks, and in the spring there were fields of blue bonnets and wildflowers as far as the eye could see. I also loved the connection to Hispanic culture, and I quickly feel in love with Day of the Dead, folklorico, and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

One time I was driving alone from Dallas to San Antonio. The sun was setting, and I found myself driving through some of the most beautiful country I had ever seen. Then I saw that perfect Texas scene: the giant field of bluebonnets with a rolling hill that had a live oak sitting on it while the colors of the sunset filled the sky. The beauty of that moment was so strong that I started crying. Crying for the glory of Texas.

And the area between Austin and San Antonio had some truly enchanted rivers. Some parts of the rivers are congested nightmares, but my hubby and I are lucky enough to have a canoe, so we can escape the crowds and experience the quiet beauty of the rivers.

Now we live in Houston, a city I never thought I’d live in in a million years. Surprise, I really love it here. It’s the most urban place I’ve ever lived, but that has worked to my advantage. That’s actually a concept I want to explore, but I’m going to save it for “U”, Urban Pagan….

Texas has a strange way of getting into your soul. I actually believe that Texas called for me to move here. I came here as a gypsy, but I have yet to leave. I keep getting great jobs and experiences, and I can’t help but feel that it’s because Texas wants me to stay.  There’s actually a bumper sticker floating around that says, I’m not native, but I got here as quick as I could. Yeah- that’s me.

I think it’s difficult for the non-Texas lover to really get how Texas gets in your soul. And a great many people who live here take great pride in being from Texas. As I’ve told people who can’t believe I’m a Texan, you just have to relax and let the glory of Texas wash over you and take you in her arms.

Ahhh, Texas….. land of blue bonnets, yellow roses, longhorns, live oaks, the Alamo, armadillos, alligators, and the lone star. I am so thankful that you called on me to experience your glory.

I hope all my readers love the land they live on as much as I do!

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