On Navigating by a Lone Star
You’ve captured the terrible beauty that is Texas; so much to admire and yet...
I’ve never read anyone with a greater gift for holding one’s attention!
Elissa, you are your Father’s daughter and Texas will always welcome you with open arms. Return soon and use the side door as you are now a part of the family.
ooh, this is a beut. Part of a bigger story, it feels like a chapter in the most interesting book. Thank you for this engrossing read.
This is gorgeous writing, where rhyme and remembrance meet under a spring moon.
As the daughter of parents long gone and a perplexed, mesmerized visitor to Texas, I loved this piece. I don’t know if it’s possible to understand America. I do know it’s impossible if you haven’t immersed yourself in Texas for a while. My forever-incomplete understanding of the country has not been the same since our drive across West Texas.
I'm really moved. My father went to France September 1944, first day of battle was September 10th, his 19th birthday. But he rarely talked about the war. A radioman, he one night was listening to a small patrol, who eventually lost touch. Were they dead? Captured. Gone. Just gone. So young.
Much food for thought, contemplation, and comment. One of the presenters of a spiritual support group I attend online refers to going to "the holy church of noticing." (Maybe she reads Solnit.) That's how I, too, get to those things in the highlighted paragraph. Thank goodness I can get to a relationship with--life, the world as we know it--and make some kind of sense of it, or mostly just feel that there's a benevolent force humming behind all of it--despite the mess we humans make of it--when I water my pot of geraniums and notice each leaf and flower petal. The beauty of that benevolence is there, at least, when I don't see it/feel it anywhere else.
Thank you for sharing your memories of your father and his experiences. He now lives in your readers' memories, too. Mine certainly. And I'm impressed by your impressions of Texas. Thank goodness for writers like you, my dear. You help us stay in relationship with life.
When I read the sentence about placing a small stone on the headstones, my brain jumped to the ❤️ that appears at the end of every essay here and I almost didn’t click, the reading alone is the gift, but then I thought clicking it was sorta the same thing except it’s a “stone” we can place on a writer’s piece while the writer is alive with the same thought... so there is that... (hope this isn’t too macabre)
…and your dad is with you every step on this trip. I can just see him smile and I never even met him!
Loved this, of course. Such evocative writing. My 4th generation Texan dad was a B-17 pilot during the war and was stationed in Santa Anna, California where he was impressed with all the orange groves and Pacific. So after the war, we spent every vacation in La Jolla, CA. Each July he flew mom and me (in his single engine Piper Comanche) from Austin to San Diego. By the time I was 8 I realized how much “cooler” CA was compared to Texas. It’s no wonder that I moved out here as soon as I could and basically never looked back. Being a dutiful only child I went home again to take care of my elderly parents. They’re both gone now but I feel them out here more. Grateful to be back in CA. I honestly believe I was misplaced. I’m glad you had a good experience in Texas. Xo
Yes. I have been traveling for almost a month to Oklahoma and back. You can’t get to Oklahoma from the west except by traveling through the top hat of Texas. That big lid of a sky is mesmerizing.
So beautiful, Elissa !
As a native Texan this is a lovely story. The landscape, the people, and the food are very diverse for sure.
On your next visit you should explore the Witliff museum and the Southwestern Writers collection at Texas State University.
Thank you for sharing this story.
What a beautiful write up. My wife is from West Texas and I’ve always wanted her to take me to her “stomping grounds” - much of what I know about Texas is through stereotypes. I’m keen to learn a different perspective! Again, thank you for sharing.
This was very thrilling for me to read as I have several friends from Texas. It was so beautifully written. I felt like I was in the big State of Texas.
For me this luscious writing of yours is about place and time and memory but also about paying close attention with all of your senses. It's a beautiful distraction to have these senses completely opened . I spent time in Scotland for an artist residency in a small town in the Highlands last year .It wasn't Texas but I was rapt with focus and attention to all the details . It changed me. Thanks for this .