I used to miss the magnolias and azaleas and tall pines and the green . . . well, the green of Shreveport. I missed the familiar more than the magical. But the longer I am here, the more detached I become.
Today, I am homesick for Austin. For a place not where I grew up, but where I found myself.
Here are the things I miss most.
I miss breakfast with Eddie at the Monument. The wait staff knows us when we come in, and the orange juice is fresh squeezed. I always have the crispy waffle with three strips of peppered bacon. The butter is creamy, and the warm maple syrup comes to the table in a tiny stainless serving cup.
I miss driving across the 360 bridge. Something about the structure of this bridge appeals to me. After sunset, we pull over to a lookout point just across the bridge and see the lights from the Austin skyline reflecting off the Colorado River. The beauty of it makes me cry.
I miss the bats in the twilight sky. At first they scared me, but after a while they mesmerized me. Now, this black heartbeat, this undulating wave of creepy wonder belongs to me.
I miss standing under the Texas star at the dome in the capitol. Passing life sized portraits of Davy Crocket and Sam Houston, I look up into the structure and marvel. I stand on my tiptoes and imagine floating up like Charlie and Grandpa in Willy Wonka's bubble room. Sometimes I say silly things up into the dome and hear my voice echoing back . . .
I miss the bluebonnets. In the spring they are painted across fields and roadside hills and medians. They even spring up in a few parking lots. A periwinkle blanket serves as the backdrop for countless baby pictures and bridal portraits. After a barren winter and ahead of a brutal summer, this March gift reminds us that Austin is indeed alive.
I miss summer nights at the Dell Diamond. For five bucks, we sprawl out on blankets in the grassy area behind center field and wash down soft, salty pretzels with cold cokes. On Friday nights everyone stays late to ooh and aah at the fireworks, then we all go home feeling a little nostalgic.
I miss the Oasis.
I cannot find the words.
In the hot summer afternoons, we sit under colorful umbrellas and drink in the breeze and the view.
Ooooh, the view.
As if this were not enough, when the sun sets, the laughter boiling over from the decks quiets to a simmer. We wait for the last ray to fall behind the lake. Then everyone applauds.
And I think God, I love this place.