Under the Same Moon
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.