south texas is mostly as i remember.
this summer the skies are grey and the air thick with humidity. the palm trees bend with the wind, their fronds like sea anemones. i wonder when it will rain. i'm waiting for a good texas rain, with thunder and lightning and sheets of water that pour like buckets.
i remember the language. brown teenagers speaking english, older mexicanos speaking spanish. those in between, speaking both. "oh jennifer, i wish you could meet him. lo quiero mucho."
there are more amenities than when i left five years ago. i used to have to drive half an hour to mcallen to find starbucks coffee. now, there are a few around harlingen (though not all of them have wi-fi!) there is more shopping now, more restaurants.
still, in la feria last night, i joined some people for drinks at the american legion hall. apparently, the bar/restaurant developers haven't spread into the small towns quite yet. but it was a nice time, reconnecting with my old friends in a smoke-filled hall. it was the bartender's birthday last night, and she had cooked a feast for the patrons--barbecued pork and chicken, mexican rice, potato salad, and birthday cake. the bar sang happy birthday to her.
i confess that it feels a little bit sad to be a visitor in a place where i used to live, especially considering that i really loved my life here.
but i've lived in three cities since then, one that i enjoyed, another that i loved, and one that i'm still adjusting to. and i guess that is the path that i chose as an academic. it feels like a nomadic path. maybe even migrant. and so i store up memories of the places that i've lived, feeling the fullness of my heart when i let myself remember.