THE BLOG

Disappearing Texas

10/01/2013 10:49 am ET | Updated Dec 01, 2013

They put up the light today.

It's 10:00 at night when I look up from my desk and turn my head, out of habit, towards the high-ceilinged windows and discover this. The windows look out onto a field with ragged, wild grass, empty save for a few trees. At the edge, the trees condense, clumping into a forest that curves around a country road.

There is an abundance of this kind of scenery around here in this area of Texas -- flat land after flat land, sometimes sparsely vegetated, sometimes densely so. Coupled with the lack of distinguishable seasons, it doesn't look like much when compared to the many other types of picturesque, natural beauty found elsewhere in the country.

But I look out at the light shining unwaveringly in the night and feel an inexplicable jolt of sadness for this unremarkable scenery, because I know that the light is a LED street lamp and that it is hanging over a newly paved street. I live in one of the largest master-planned communities in the country, and when my family moved here a year ago I knew that the area would be developed eventually. Although I can count on one hand the number of times I have gone camping and am not particularly outdoorsy, I have yet to make my peace with this fact.

I have gotten used to the open fields that, when I ride my bike to school in the early morning, with a thick layer of fog drifting over them, can be romanticized into rolling, dewy hills. I have gotten used to the narrow, winding lanes that I practiced driving on, the way the trees curve over the potholed road to form a thick, green tunnel. I have gotten used to the pasture at the very end of the road with the cattle grazing, the horses peering over fences, and the sheepdog resting at the end of a gravel driveway.

Now I can literally turn my back on all that. If I am to stand in my front yard and turn left, I face an ordinary, suburban neighborhood with cars parked at curbs. If I turn right, I have no neighbors; the sidewalk breaks off into greenery.

The greenery was torn up for the new roads, and then the bare wooden skeletons of homes went up. Brick walls, stamped with the logo of the neighborhood, corral the houses.

And while I know this is inevitable, because of the money to be made and population growth, I miss the unremarkable Texan scenery. Paltry as it may be, it is scenery, soon to be filled with "can houses" that all look alike, as if they had fallen out of cans. The scenery is all becoming the same, the way that highway exits have all become the same. It is, after all, possible to be distinguished by undistinguished scenery.

You don't have to be a country girl to drown in suburbia.

I stare at the too-bright light, thinking that darkness is a luxury.