A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting this will always be a special moment in time…
A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting, this will always be a special moment in time…
There is nothing so glorious as a day at the seaside! The smell of the salty air, the waves lapping against the shore, and the uproarious laughter that erupts each time you skim a wave. Last Monday on Galveston Island, located in the immense Gulf of Mexico, I dare say that there were no happier children than our own. Alina and Finnlagh spent hours digging, gathering water, splashing in the surf and absolutely screeching with sheer delight. Reed practiced standing and taking steps on his own, all the while making miniature footprints at the water’s edge, caught by surprise on more than one occasion by a miscalculated wave. It appears that making sense of powdery sand is as challenging as ever to a young baby, and feathery tufts of wet baby hair standing straight up is still precious beyond words, at least to us.
I was quite fortunate to grow up surrounded by water, with the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean a mere stone’s throw away – Coney Island, Jones Beach…summer’s daily ritual involved intensely hot beaches, sleepy sun-soaked car rides in our bathing suits and terry cloth robes along with a host of surf accoutrements, coolers, sunscreen and flip flops dangling off our feet. Even now as an adult, I’d turn down months on end at the pool for a day at the beach, anytime. When we came home to Austin, I asked the older children if they wanted to go for a swim (our complex has a lovely outdoor pool) and they looked down at the floor and shrugged. “I guess,” Alina said. “It’s not the same,” added Finnlagh. All the more reason to create more childhood memories at the seashore, n’est-ce pas?
*A special note: Today we are celebrating Memorial Day in the United States. While it always seems to mark the unofficial start of summer – a long week-end of bbq cookouts, swimming and get togethers, it is a day devoted to honouring those who fought for our country and lost their lives. Let us say ‘thank-you’ to those who bravely defended this land, and all the freedoms and landscapes in it.
Hello friends! Wishing all those who celebrate, a happy and joyous Easter holiday! As you can see, the Easter Bunny has already visited our new house (thank goodness he got the memo about our change of address – and let us turn on the lights, just to capture a quick picture). All the baskets are filled and lined up for the kids to enjoy in the morning. We’re hoping they’ll take pity on their dear, old parents and save us some jelly beans and cream eggs…
If you have a look at a map, you would probably describe where Texas is situated in the United States as south central. Put your finger in the middle of North Dakota, draw your finger all the way down, and you’ll land smack on top of it. Yet, if you live in Texas, you’ll discover it is a place that does not describe itself as that at all. It wavers between ‘southern’ and ‘southwestern’ and just plain ‘Texan’ (the Lone Star State was indeed once its own republic). It seems as though Texas encompasses both elements of the deep south and of the southwest, while still maintaining a strong sense of its own identity.
When you think of far West Texas, you immediately think of Big Bend National Park – dinosaur fossils, majestic Chisos mountains, black bears and hundreds of species of birds surrounded by canyons, rivers, and 150 miles of trails: it’s a hiker’s paradise. Driving along the 90, the main highway, through Big Bend desert, south of Fort Stockton, you’ll stumble upon Marathon, TX.
At first glimpse, it doesn’t look like much. How could a town with population:470 in 5.2 square miles look like anything? In fact, if you visit the website for Marathon it states simply: Marathon – where there’s nothing ‘to do.’ Ah yes. Perhaps not much ‘to do,’ but a visual feast ‘to see.’ There are luxury hotels amid inns and colourful B&B’s, adobe houses fashioned from clay, water, sand and organic matter, all painted in vivid, remarkable hues…chili peppers adorning houses as they dry out in the sun…tiny church steeples…and mesas, cactus and desert that roots you in the gateway to New Mexico and Arizona.
Truth be told, I fell head over heels in love with the desert that day. The rich warmth of the sun as it fell on our shoulders in the early hours of the morning was all it took. Nothing ‘to do’ but to take it all in.
We have returned from what ended up being a spectacular drive across West Texas. While driving west with three children in tow is not for the faint of heart, we took it at our own pace, and made sure we afforded plenty of stops along the way to take it all in. There is so very much to share with you, and I am just beginning to piece all of the photographs together. Our journey began in Austin and took us all the way along the Mexican border and through the Chihuahuan desert to Marfa, with stops in Fredericksburg, Sonora, Ozona, Sanderson, Marathon, Alpine and San Antonio.
In the coming days I will be posting about Marathon and Marfa in particular, and Chef Grant will be guest blogging about the Caverns of Sonora. I’ve been itching to get him to do a guest post for a while now, and he has happily agreed. He might even share some recipes while he’s at it!
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson