Yuccas y Los Cowboys

Finishing my day’s construction observation run down the block, these sense-of-place / time scenes appeared.

Born and bred Texans: a few photos may boggle your minds:

Yucca torreyi in spring flowering…an inviting porch

If I get a house again, I would like a generous, shady porch with some heavy walls like that one.

standing proud in spite of neglect…an Opuntia ellisiana, too

I bet some still disregard those two green desert dwellers. Crazy!

but the other way, I somehow missed this earlier
see anything odd here in El Paso?

El Paso, being in Texas by several miles, is closer to the state capitols of Arizona and New Mexico, than it is to Texas’. The cultural pull here is to the large cities to the west: Phoenix and LA.

In fact, New Mexico’s governor Susana Martinez is from El Paso.

This might say it all.

New Mexico’s Zia symbol, the Dallas Cowboys’ insignia…or perhaps a Texas Lone Star /Dallas Cowboys combination

The cultural pull to the yuppies is different – they want to recreate Austin here.

That’s misguided. From the number of native central Texans I’ve known and talked with, Austin is unique, and it didn’t become Austin by wanting to be somewhere else. Plus, from everywhere I’ve been in life, world-class places are themselves.

Huge difference. Case and point: Tucson, which seems at peace with itself!

El Paso needs to be like El Paso can be, and as some connected, native El Pasoans tell me, “we’re not Texas, New Mexico, or Mexico…we’re El Paso.”

Coming from 21+ years in EP’s tattooed biker sister to my north (ABQ), and having visited its pretty, hippieish sister to my west (TUS), I agree.

Los Cowboys y Nuevo México, y’all?


5 Replies to “Yuccas y Los Cowboys”

  1. I enjoyed your observations about El Paso, a city I’ve only passed through, never really seen. It IS like a whole other country — or at least it is far enough away to be one. Anyway, El Paso doesn’t need to be Austin. They can go to Marfa for that.

    Glad it makes sense, though if I were a writer, I could have come up with the Marfa mention…brilliant! (though they don’t have big oaks, Barton Springs, etc)


  2. Texas is it’s own world, isn’t it? Kind of like Alaska in that way. I adore Opuntia ellisiana and so do our slugs. I’ve a couple that have Swiss cheese pads on the ends where the little mollusks enjoyed lunching on the new growth.

    It is, and El Paso is yet another…maybe like Alaska, it’s size and isolation? Slugs…I forget those, but banana slugs where my sisters lived in northern CA were weird!


  3. Beautiful yuccas and an interesting read, as always!

    Thanks, and I could substitute in Portland for Austin, and get a similar meaning. The yuccas are so cool right now, especially where they dot the mountainsides I was hiking yesterday before dinner!


  4. You have a keen eye and not just for plantings…

    I spent part of spring break two hours east of Austin and though I was still in Texas and nominally it is the same zone ( 8b) everything looked, smelled, sounded and felt like a different world.

    Who needs a state with multiple Austins, (or San Antonios, or Galvestons…)! We have malls and chain stores for that. What we do need, to be true to our Texan selves, is El Paso. An authentic El Paso that is proud to be herself. So say we all…

    Why, thanks! Sometimes the biologic and social all relate. When I hear Austin old-timers note how there are new areas that cause it to feel like a generic large city (Dallas, etc), I see the need for balancing inevitable change with preservation. The latter based on what really makes it great and thriving, not just for superficial or nostalgic trappings.

    Your thoughts on zone is so true, which is why I actually prefer an ecoregion system used in front of a USDA zone. 8b = Portland OR, Austin, Las Vegas, El Paso, Charleston SC, and so on…much different, in need of further detail to be useful. Sunset tried to do that with their western garden climate zones…they just minimized differences E of California. Oops!


  5. I’ve never been in Texas so I enjoy hearing your viewpoints on life there.

    My viewpoint might be warped, but maybe not? When the old commercial said, “Texas: a whole other country”, it’s more like a few countries!


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