Texas state welcome sign, along Interstate 30, entering from Arkansas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are a number of places in Mexico and China that begin with the letter X, but I can't write about them not having been there. And I can't say for sure if I've ever been to Xenia, Ohio so it would be hardly fair to write about that town. So I'm pressed to come up with a place in the United States where I've been that begins with an X.
Often the letter X is used to represent a center of things--"you are here" or "X marks the spot". Then I think about that massive state of Texas. The X is in the middle of the name, but in a way Texas seems like the center of the United States. Oh, it's not the geographical center of the U.S. or even North America. And it's not the population center, although oddly enough in 2010 and 2011 that distinction went to Texas county in Missouri.
No, it just seems like Texas is smack dab in the middle of it all and when you're traveling the U.S., for much of the time you are there somewhere in Texas. A good many travelers going from one region of the United States to another will at some time pass through at least part of Texas. If you're traveling via I-10 or I-20 you'll spend a lot of time in Texas. If you cross the country on I-40 you'll still pass through Texas, but not as long.
I've heard some say that they found driving through Texas boring. Not me. To me there is something fascinating about the vastness of the state. Miles of empty space punctuated by quiet little towns in the middle of nowhere that conjure images of lone cowboys and The Last Picture Show. If you've seen that movie then that's what a lot of those towns look like.
That's not to say there isn't some major urban life in Texas. Of the ten biggest cities in the United States three of them are in Texas. The only state that matches that is California and that may change since, according to statistics, a lot of people from California have been leaving that state with many of them going to, yeah you guessed it, Texas.
Texas has just about everything. There are beaches and mountains, deserts and swamp lands, and city sprawl and farm land. It's a diverse state geographically as well as culturally. The weather tends to be temperate most of the time, but it can get cold and snowy in the winter and blistering hot in the summer.
The largest state border with Mexico is that of Texas. Much of that border is fairly desolate though there are some large urban areas on the Mexican side. Texas also borders long stretches of four different U.S. states. The Texas highway system has enough roads to circle the Earth more than three times. Some people who have traversed Texas may have felt like they had circled the Earth.
In my days of touring with the Ken Griffin Magic Show and the World of Fantasy Players we spent a lot of time in Texas. There were a lot of towns to play and some good money to be made. We had some good times in that state. I always looked forward to going there.
If someone were to tell me that I was going to have to settle down and live in Texas for the rest of my life, I guess I wouldn't be terribly upset. Some places in Texas might be more disconcerting than others, but as long as I had all the necessities of modern life I guess I could deal with it.
I would prefer to just be able to pass through Texas now and then on my way from one place to another. Or maybe just drive around Texas for a long time. Texas is a good place to drive around. When God made Texas, I think he probably made it for roads, cars, and driving. Driving a long, long way.