Texas: Home, Home on the Range

I’ve already admitted that I’m a spoiled creature. But my husband took it to a whole ‘nother level when he flew me home to spend my birthday weekend with my family at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. It was a last minute decision and I was up until 1 AM packing… but it was perhaps my favorite birthday present of all time! (And particularly generous, since the husband was sadly unable to join due to work.)

It’s hard–nay, impossible!–to capture the Texas Hill Country’s rugged beauty in late October. It’s untamed and sunshine-y and serene, unspoiled by internet access or cell service. Some moments were almost ridiculously Arcadian–my stroll through wildflower fields rife with butterflies (the monarchs are migrating right now), or when my brother Hunter and I accidentally spooked two fawns, sending them leaping lightly from a thicket. But they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so in defiance of my writer’s heart, I’ll let my snapshots speak for themselves.

I’ll only say that those few days running around in muddy cowboy boots, soaking in my beloved Texas and my infinitely-more-beloved family, were incredible buoys to my soul, especially since our past four years living in China and Suriname have left me a little homesick. We played board games and listened to Texas country music and laughed as my mom’s pint-sized terrier channeled her Napoleon complex to chase off cows. We enjoyed my brother Jared’s impromptu fiddle concert and drained off one two bottles of Baileys (a family tradition). We hunted and laughed and came within inches of hand-catching an armadillo. (My dad successfully wrangled one the night before we arrived.) I sketched a little and fantasized about enjoying a writer’s retreat there. Muddy and pleasantly tired, we locked up that last gate at the end of the weekend, bidding the ranch a can’t-wait-to-see-you-again farewell.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my bon anniversaire.

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