It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here in Austin. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the breeze carried in through the open door is a crisp 66 degrees. I’m not going to pretend that’s particularly cold, but I won’t pretend that it’s warm either. I’m wearing slippers and sipping hot tea.
My blood, it seems, became Texan very quickly.
It’s been one year, one week, and one day since I left New England, and almost a year since I’ve been in Austin. While it is undeniably fun for me to share my story (yes, I drove 2000+ miles on my own. no, I didn’t have a job. yes, I stayed with friends that I met on the internet. no, I wasn’t scared.) it’s also hard for me to see it as something all that remarkable. Moving to Austin made such perfect, deep-down-in-my-gut sense that I never really felt the pangs of nervousness or uncertainty.
Me, the happy homebody, who still shudders at even the possibility of navigating downtown when it’s crowded, confidently traversed half the country to move to a city where I could count the number of people that I knew on one hand. If that’s not a divinely-gifted assurance – for which I can claim no credit – then I really don’t know what is.
Back home, the month of February is approached with something like a resigned dread. Garrison Keiller said that God made the month of March to show “people who don’t drink what a hangover feels like,” and in New England, we reach that point about a month before that. I’ve never really liked February.
It was not just by chance that I happened to leave home during this very month and if there was ever a sliver of uncertainty for my success, then at the very least, I thought, I won’t be home for February. Now that I’ve been here for a year I realize that among the very many things that this move has brought (a new job, new apartment, new church, and new friends) there was one thing I did not think to expect: Texas has redeemed February. No longer the month I merely endure, it’s the month where I take stock and reflect on the year that’s been. It’s the month when the sun and warm air return to remind me why I moved here in the first place. It’s the month of milestone-marking and eager anticipation. Pascha is coming, and summer is on its way.
But for now, I am happy for February.