My old Honda Accord made a valiant effort. Packed to the gills with all my worldly belongings, it labored over one thousand miles through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and finally arrived in Texas. At the beginning of the trip the road winded through lush mountain passes and layers of deep blue-green. At the end, the scenery had turned into a flat, steaming, red-brown plain.

My friend Aaramina came along as travel companion. We relished the chance to explore new corners of the country together. The first night we stayed with friends near Louisville. Their house, tucked in the woods, was painted in bright rain forest purple, orange, and green. That night we went dancing in the city, and in the morning breakfasted on the porch and read poetry aloud.

On day two we drove to Memphis. Touring the town, we saw towering brass statutes of Elvis and B.B. King, and watched the trolley clatter through charming streets. We glimpsed Beale Street, known as the birth place of rock and roll, and visited the Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in 1968. On the balcony where he died hangs a white wreathe, and a nearby plaque quotes a passage from Genesis: “They said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him … and we will see what will become of his dreams.’”

We set out on the third and last day of the journey. Stopping in Little Rock, we hiked the Big Dam Pedestrian Bridge over the Arkansas River. In the numbing heat, I dropped the glass bottle I was carrying and cut my foot. Back on the road, we passed soybean fields, cattle pastures, and ranches and drove on and on.

That night, watching the sun set gloriously over my right shoulder, I drove the last leg of the journey.  The sky was enormous, swept with orange-yellow. My eyes feasted on the occasional row of trees, which rose up in the landscape like a surprise.

I have arrived in Texas during a severe drought. The trees are dying and temperatures soar so high that even born-and-raised Texans wilt. Yet, I sense this is where I am meant to be.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing … I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

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