WE DROVE WEST ON U.S. 290 TO U.S. 281 SOUTH, then turned off to Medina and Vanderpool. After crossing and recrossing the Sabinal along sunset ridges from Utopia to Lost Maples, we spent the night at the FoxFire Cabins with our four children. In the morning we headed north to the Willow City Loop, surely one of the most beautiful stretches of road anywhere in the world.
Five miles of that narrow byway with its single barbecue shack and its many cattle guards is enough Hill Country to break your heart—spectacular vistas, one after another, that no outsider would dream existed in Texas. Knolls as green as Ireland, dramatic bluffs, rolling meadows, and terra-cotta river plains. Knotty live oaks shading winding creeks that run through valleys so thick with bluebonnets they seem, at first glance, to be lakes. Then fields and fields of long-stemmed white prickly poppies lit by the sun, hovering above the grass like tiny angels.
For six months I have known I would be leaving Texas to marry and move to another state. Trying to let go, I have been living like a ghost, in a world where I am already gone. Friends call, but I sit motionless as the machine picks