Texas is everything that you've heard about it and even more. Texas was its own country, which is why it's the Lone Star State. Texas is like a whole 'nother country, as the advertising slogan from a few years back proclaimed. Although it sits physically in the South, Texans are not Southerners in the way that those from Alabama and Mississippi are.
Texas is just Texas.
Three of the top ten largest cities are in Texas: Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. They are urban--full of great restaurants, industry, science, medicine. The people are diverse--Mexican, African American, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Japanese. Religion is a part of the landscape--mega churches, Bible study leaders broadcasting on TV.
But the rural iconic Texas is still going strong. The Texas of fading main streets, cow pastures fenced in with barbed wire holding cattle of every color--brown, black and white. Real cowboys and good ol' boys.
There's food: Real Tex-Mex--fajitas, enchiladas, queso. Slow cooked barbecue with thick spicy sauce. Pots of beans. Pecan pie (that's pe-CAHN not PE-can). Chocolate Sheet Cake.
Words and phrases like fixin' to, do what? and y'all will be heard in the Lone Star State. Neighbors will be neighborly, but you best stay out of the fast lane on the freeway. In the cities you get on a freeway to go anywhere. Feeder roads in the cities make driving easy, but the landscape ugly.
The weather is diverse. Thunderstorms, flooding, dry heat, humidity, West Texas winds, perfect spring and fall days. Any of these could occur anytime of the year.
It's beautiful. It's big, so the terrain is varied. From tall East Texas Pines to scrubby West Texas Mesquites. Dense forests to barren plains. Rolling hills to flat prairies. There's limestone and marble and red dirt. Our state flower, the bluebonnet is a wildflower.
For a few weeks every year, the countryside is covered with wildflowers--blue, yellow, pink, and red. We were fortunate to catch this window and took the quintessential Texas pictures. . .
right off the freeway.