Texas is hot: like being wrapped as a jalapeño-bacon-cream cheese popper and stuck in the oven hot. There’s humid hot, desert hot, and authentic salsa hot! But Texas heat has a way of looking out for the soul. Its force has a way of slowing things down and encouraging us to spend some more time on the things we love.
Mornings are the coolest part of the day and people here know it. They greet everyone with a hearty Mornin‘ and don’t mind letting a few people skip in front of the coffee line as they hold the door open. It’s a relief from the heat wave that’s already gearing up to wash over the land as lunchtime ticks closer. Of which by then, not much of anything sounds good except for a tall styrofoam cup of large sweet tea over crushed ice.
By dinner, Texans have sweated enough to stand the heat by the grill and the oven smoking up some fantastic Southern fare. And what’s a little more sweat on the brow with some extra-spicy hot sauce. Heck, it might even make you feel cooler as your insides fire up.
All this heat demands that locals and visitors alike slow things down. No urban rat race here. Pull up a chair. Grab an ice cold. Spend a few moments in between sentences of those conversations. Even the sound of the insects as evening settles down onto the lawns and porches seems to be slow and measured, each buggy note being worth the effort.
Afternoon naps, time to squeeze in a few bites of dessert, and opportunities to simply ‘be’ are all moments indicative of a Texas lifestyle.
Even students get up early to pack up a friend’s truck with provisions to float down the rivers. Spending a day floating on the water is a way of life. Who needs to watch movies in silence when one could spend a 9-to-5 lounging on an inter-tube laughing with good friends and catching the breeze like the trees that line the banks.
Kids quickly run off again to the pool when they see their parents motion that it’s almost time to go and parents allow it because the alternative is dancing on burning pool tiles while waiting for the kids to drag themselves out of the cool blue.
And unlike other American personalities, Texans talking about the weather is an open invitation to get to know each other that is as genuine as the Mornin’s. Small talk only exists if you happen to strike up a conversation in the parking lot.
I loved growing up in Texas, although it was something appreciated later in life when I moved away. I grew up wild and yet comfortable, with myself, with others, and with the pace of life. Not many things throw me off. Living in Texas teaches you to be accepting and adaptable.
It also reminds you to fill up on good food, desserts, sights, and conversation. Take the time to listen to Mother Nature when she speaks. Pace yourself and enjoy slowing things down. Stay until the sweet tea quits pouring and the insects convince you to retire. And then stay just a few more of “the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas” moments more.