Country Comforts

It’s easy to indulge my love of the bucolic and pastoral when I live where I do in north Texas. This county is full, as it has been for generations, of farms and ranches of all sorts that intermingle freely with the towns, cities and suburbs of the area. Whenever we take a drive or go running errands, we’re just as likely to see fields full of sorghum or corn, red or black Angus cattle, or sleek tobiano horses as we are shops and schools and natural gas pumping montagePlenty of relics and remnants still stand that tell me it’s been this way for a very, very long time. The little bronze school bell and windmill that remain standing right next to the old Ponder schoolhouse’s clapboard walls seem perfectly ready to go back to work (with just a tiny bit of functional renovation first, of course)–or to transport me instantly backward into the nineteenth century. A small private herd of longhorns spends its days in a cozy paddock that sits directly next door to a modern brick housing development, and on the other side of it is a stretch of fields full of wildflowers and prickly pear, punctuated by the occasional gas well and electrical tower, the latter often populated by small flocks of turkey vultures.photoAll of this makes an atmosphere highly conducive to my happiness: the conveniences and riches of contemporary urban existence, conveniently interspersed with spirit-soothing farmland or ranch and historic pleasures. If I play it right, I can feel like I’m on vacation no matter which world I happen to be in at the moment.

24 thoughts on “Country Comforts

    • I live on the edge of a town of about 120,000 people that’s part of the huge multi-city complex of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas (somewhere between 6 and 7 million residents altogether)–but since Texas is such an enormous state, I can still drive only five or ten minutes and be out in open ranch- or farm-land that goes on and on without much human intervention in sight. There are lots of horse and cattle ranches near here, and many farms that raise sorghum or wheat or corn, so there’s still a lot of land that just stretches out to the horizon without many roads or buildings of any kind.

  1. You clearly are a person who likes to see life through a positive lens. That’s a blessed state to be in. Going forward, what could you do to support other folks likewise?


  2. As you describe up there, the mix of old and new, of rural and increasingly suburban, is all around us in Austin. Just three decades ago the hilly neighborhood I now live in was part of someone’s ranch, and common street maps of Austin (like the ones from gas companies or AAA), didn’t extend out this far from downtown. It’s not unusual to drive around the suburbs and find an old farmstead surrounded by a subdivision.

    • Much of my experience since we came here has proven that, while the stereotypes may all apply, they only make up a small portion of the whole truth–just as it is pretty much everywhere I’ve been. Thank goodness!! πŸ™‚

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