I grew up in the Texas Panhandle. The flattest place on earth, I think. You can see for miles out there. Huge trees miles away look like bits of fuzz on the horizon; far away houses are just dark little shapes. Remember those huge Tupperware bowls your mom had when you were a kid? They seemed ginormous, right? The sky is like an inverted crystal blue That’s-a-Bowl. No clouds, though, because the wind is so stinking persistent that nothing stays aloft for long.
I live in the mountains now. Actually, I live in the high desert on a mesa near the mountains. Close enough to enjoy snow, but far enough that we don’t have to live like Grizzly Adams every winter. When I was a little girl, I always wanted to live in the mountains. The whole “purple mountain majesty” thing seemed magical. I wanted to live someplace with color, unlike the Texas Panhandle. It’s brown there. Occasionally, it’s green, but that’s usually just weeds or scrubby shrubs like Mesquite. But purple mountains? That sounded nice. Cool, too. Temperature-wise, that is.
But you know what I miss about the Panhandle? Sunrises and sunsets. We get pretty colors up in the almost-mountains, but nothing like what they get back in the pancake-flat Panhandle. My childhood home was out in the country, so I had an unimpeded view of the daily comings and goings of our yellow star. I have fond memories of standing outside, being still, watching as the sky slowly morphed from clementine orange to hot pink to deep purple as the sun set behind the cemetery to the west of our house. No wonder my teenaged years were so angst-ridden. My closest neighbors were all dead.
We’re driving through the Panhandle now. The trees all grow at a 45° angle because of the constant wind. The colors are drab. If you’re driving anywhere near Amarillo, it smells like money – cattle. The water tastes. Yes, that is a complete sentence. The water has a flavor. I could rattle off so many things I don’t like about the place I grew up, but they’re all (almost) outweighed by the sun’s daily fashion shows.