Big Bend, Texas. Photo by James Stevens.

The drive from Austin to Marfa, Texas, when done in one long stretch, feels less like a daunting car ride and more like an odyssey when you get into it. As the terrain changes from forgotten roadside truck stops to long stretches of brilliant nothingness, a mountain scape lingering in the distant horizon, you start to lose your sense of everything you were worried or stressed out about before. This is the magic of West Texas – it breathes you into its grandeur and sweeps you away. Read More »

The Process is the Party: Preparing for Hurricane Harvey as My Dad

This evening, Hurricane Harvey will hit land and is anticipated to develop into a Category 3 hurricane.

For residents of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico, it’s kind of freaky. For those in coastal cities such as Corpus Christi and Rockport, Texas, mandatory evacuations have been issued.

Having grown up in Houston, there have been several occasions in which we evacuated our suburban house and inched our way in snail-pace traffic toward family members who lived in other TX cities safe from the storm. I recall as we evacuated to Del Rio, Texas before the onslaught of Hurricane Ike in 2008, a little girl walking from vehicle to vehicle in the standstill traffic, asking people for water for a turtle she was clutching.

My dad always stayed behind when we evacuated, as it was his obligation as an employee of The Methodist Hospital to be “on call.” As Senior Editor, it was his responsibility to provide coverage and press releases on behalf of the hospital, and report from the epicenter of the storm in downtown Houston.

Retiring in 2016, this will be the first year my dad does not have to report downtown for work during the storm. With no press releases to prepare or writing to be done, he is in need of something to do, as well as some way to show how excited he is for this serious, yes, but also monumental event . . .

I mean, it’s been 9 years since Texas has seen a hurricane. My dad is chomping at the bit to track Hurricane Harvey, and shoot the shit about the storm with people in line behind him at Wal-Mart. He is that guy in the grocery store who is almost smirking at the empty water aisle, proud of his community for taking necessary precaution.

I’m not saying my dad is happy about impending doom or anything, but I do think he romanticizes storms because of the way it brings a community together, and also the guilt-free screwing around you get to do at home all weekend because of the unsafe driving conditions preventing you from being a productive member of society.

Essentially Hurricane Harvey, in all its realtime transformation, is my dad’s lifeblood right now. He’s even curated a hurricane playlist:

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