The Nature Writers of Texas

The best nature writing from the newspaper, magazine, blog and book authors of the Lone Star State . . .

Monday, March 20, 2006

Dr. David Taylor, a University of North Texas Honor College Professor, and a contributor to our Texas Nature Writers Blog, has just published an anthology of Texas writers: Pride of Place: A Contemporary Anthology of Texas Nature Writing.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction (courtesy of Dr. Taylor and University of North Texas Press):

What’s stirred me to bring this writing together isn’t nostalgia or anti-development sentiments, though I hold both of those. Instead, it is that wonder I’d slip into as a child about the vast spaces of Texas landscapes as we traveled. The family vehicle was a 1967 Chevrolet pickup; after 100 miles or so, Mom and Dad would tire of listening to the three kids and banish us to the bed of the truck. My use of the word “bed” is literal, as dad had placed a mattress in the back with a camper top shielding us from the elements, excepting heat of course. Much of the time we vied for a breeze, placing our faces near the two slatted windows; I being the youngest waited on the largesse of my two older siblings to offer access to a window—that and if I got sick or whined too much they knew there’d be hell to pay when Dad stopped the truck. But in those times when we’d pass a few hundred miles at a time without too much discomfort, I could slip into a reverie about what was passing by—pines, swamps, bays, lakes, rivers, coast, oaks, bluebonnets, longhorns, mesquite, prairie, hills, prickly pear, mule ear, cholla, an ochre sunset on the Davis Mountains. Watching them was hypnotic, but these trances were interrupted by a coyote sighting, the searing color of wild-flower fields, antelope out west, or a whooping crane down by the coast. I knew there was something important in allowing myself to silently take all these things in, and as I have grown older, I see myself finding times to be that boy taking in not just scenery but place. It is that reverie that brought me to love these places, to worry for them, and to write and work for them as well.

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