Friday January 16-Monday January 19th
Whenever I tell people I’m from Kansas I almost always get the same reaction. People assume I’m a country girl who grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Kansas. In reality, I’ve lived in the city my whole life. However, the city life back home is completely different than the city life in Texas. In Kansas you won’t find skyscrapers, city lights, or billboards, while Texas has big cities where you can’t avoid them. On the other hand, Texas is also made up of smaller, surrounding towns that many people have never visited or even heard of; Sweetwater, TX is definitely one of those towns. A team ranch retreat brought me to Sweetwater a few weekends ago and I’ve been missing it ever since.
When we started the drive from Austin to Sweetwater, we were stuck in standstill 5:00 Austin traffic. As soon as we began to make some progress in our journey, the traffic died down and we began to see less city and more land. After four and a half hours of driving we were finally there. I jumped out of the car to stretch and unload and found myself unable to look anywhere but up at the giant blanket of stars above me. All I could think about at that moment is how small we are as humans in this enormous universe. Yet, we are capable of making and leaving such a huge print on world. Unfortunately, this view of the stars doesn’t exist in Austin because it is covered up by pollution. Aldo Leopold mentions our mark on the world when he says,
“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of the land.”
By no means am I saying I have not contributed to covering up our stars, but I am aware of the affects my actions have on our world and I am willing to make changes.
We picked the perfect weekend to escape to the ranch. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with temperatures in the high 60s, sunshine, and not a cloud in the sky.
The land we were on was so big you could walk for miles without seeing another house. Though, what I enjoyed the most about the entire weekend was the wildlife. I was able to see horses, a donkey, a stray dog and cat, jackrabbits, roadrunners, and much much more. Before the ranch retreat, I had never ridden a horse. Once I was shown the ropes, I was ready to move out there and ride everyday. The horse I rode all weekend, Sparky, was wild but a good time. If I didn’t live in a tiny apartment in Austin, TX, I would have tried to take him home with me.
As the weekend came to a close, I was sad I had to leave and get back to the reality of school and work but I’m thankful for a weekend getaway in Sweetwater, TX