Under the Same Moon

by | Mar 27, 2018 | Feature, Landscapes, Native Plants

Under-the-Same-Moon Hallie Rose Taylor

 

I was a lonely, dreamy child growing up in Utah. I searched the sky. I was aware of the shapes of the clouds, the strength of the wind. I remember looking at the moon outside the passenger window early on and suddenly grasping for the first time that it was actually a spherical entity out there, not just a flat picture that decorates our world. I seldom looked down.

My first real connection with landscape was in the shape of a fantasy. I longed for, without any basis, the jungle. I believed I wanted to be surrounded by lush emerald greenery with huge showy flowers, sapphire birds and ruby fruits hanging from every branch. I convinced myself that I didn’t belong in the desert.

It wasn’t until I made my way to Texas that I fell for the natural world once and for all. Maybe it was the Pride of Barbados* that took me back to my early jungle fantasies, or the tentacles of the agave — huge and reptilian and begging for me to stroke their broad leaves. Or the papery desert poppy, which fluttered like the white cotton dress I am still convinced I’ll get married in.

During this period I made the decision to dedicate myself to art. My first year of paintings and drawings were of Texas plants and flowers. But my passion for the outdoors eventually hit a wall living in Austin — a wall with a “No Trespassing” sign. I had taken Utah for granted, where you pull off down a dirt road and go ahead and camp. Finding true quiet is as simple as having a form of transportation and an hour on your hands. I had grown to love the land of Central Texas but knew I had to leave.

I finally offloaded most of my belongings and moved into my car, where I have lived nomadically for almost a year. I have now spent cumulative days staring out the window — from the driver’s side this time around, watching the same sun and moon cycle across the sky, but with an ever-changing plant community to learn wherever I go.

I don’t know where I’ll end up, but wherever that is, I will learn the names of the grasses and trees and flowers, and I will walk the hills, fields or shores calling them: “Sticky Geranium, Globemallow, Manzanita.” In this way I’ll always be home. In this way I am never alone.

*Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is a non-native species that has been widely planted in Central Texas.

Hallie Rose Taylor is an illustrator (and occasional) writer whose work focuses on themes of wilderness and the human spirit. She has contributed to She Explores, Tribeza and more.