Loving It in Lubbock / by Michelle Cowan

The road trip has begun. I left Houston on Thursday and trekked up highway 36 to Lubbock, where I met my brother Kuhrt and his wife Lindsey. Only an hour into my adventure, I took a detour to visit Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, TX. Who could resist the lure of fresh-made ice cream (other than my brother, who mysteriously does not like ice cream all that much)? It's nearly a sin that I've lived in Houston for six years and never visited the creamery.

You'd think everyone on the tour was six year old, the way we were instantly fascinated by the fast-moving assembly lines. Ice cream sandwiches, rainbow bars, and carton after carton of oh-so-creamy ice cream, all put together and packaged before our eyes. The free scoop of ice cream at the end didn't hurt either. I'd say it was altogether worth the five dollar admission price.

Tummy happy, I was on my way. It's a beautiful drive—maybe not the most beautiful in the world, but amazing just the same. Blue skies and green expanses made me feel that I really had escaped the doldrums of my life in Houston. I'm really doing this. I popped in some Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and nourished my spirit in daydreams I can't remember.

During the last hour, lightning struck very near my car more than once. Stealth lightning that hit without thunder came before any raindrops. Luckily, I made it to my brother's house before the larger part of the storm hit.

It’s amazing what seeing a brother will do. The relationship between a brother and sister is a special thing—a jewel that varies from one brother/sister pair to another. My younger brother and I have always gotten along. Aside from occasionally terrorizing each other as children, we got along peacefully.

Because we never attended the same school at the same time, we didn't have to deal with much sibling rivalry. Sure, it probably annoyed him that my name preceded his in middle school and high school. But one conversation with Kuhrt removed any preconceptions anyone might have of him. Happily, we are very different people. Whereas I tend to be uptight, obsessive, and anxious, Kuhrt tends to be laid back, practical, and jovial. People like Kuhrt immediately, and he's one of my favorite people in the world to be around. He's absolutely a joy to talk to.  I've always been happy I have a brother—and that I have this particular brother.

Needless to say, I feel taken care of here in Lubbock. I leave for Santa Fe tomorrow, and I definitely want to hold onto the feelings of belonging I have here. My trip definitely has an introspective focus, but it's nice to temper that with connection and high-value relationships. I tend to undervalue my relationships, but more and more, I know that I cannot live without them. My touchstones on this trip will sustain me for the solitary, introspective days in between.

What's more, I played at D'Vine Wine last night. Despite another crazy storm, I had a wonderful time. People I haven't seen in ages came out to support me, and it was fun to play three hours worth of music and work on new material. Thank you so much, Vikee Clark, for the hook up!  I can't wait to come through and play again.

For now, I'm luxuriating in the fact that I am loved and that I love others. My darkest moments come when I feel most disconnected. People ground me in reality. I need my alone time to gather my inner strength and to listen to the wisdom that only comes from the soul.  And I need other people to expand my awareness and to give and receive love. Without both pieces of live, I cannot thrive. 

This trip already rocks!