Thursday, May 5, 2011


In 2001, we purchased near 10 acres of land in The Piney Woods area of East Texas. This raw land was mostly in its most natural form, without ever having any kind of human interference (other than the occasional rogue hunter trespassing).

Towering trees and thick underbrush covered the earth. But, we wanted to scope out the property on foot. It's difficult to get much more of a view than by a survey on a piece of paper when you are buying a large piece of land that is so overgrown from untold years of being untame. It wasn't as if we could hop in a truck and take a spin to catch the highlights. This land was wild.

The sellers of the property had taken a tractor and knocked down everything in its path along the perimeter of the property for us to take a walk. This outer perimeter, being cleared, made it much easier to make our final decision to move forward with the purchase of this land, and it made it easier to go back for more walking tours after our purchase.

Still so sick, I was determined to make this walk with my husband and daughters. I was gasping for air and unbalanced from ongoing weakness. I'd been told that it would take at least one year to notice a recovery because I had been so sick for so long, but I wanted to see everything with my own eyes. The land was propelling me forward.

In our lack of brilliance about owning wilderness property, we were all wearing sandals or flip flops. Living near the coastline equals sandy soil and living around sandy soil equals a wardrobe to include loose fitting shoes that make it easy to shake out the sandy soil. We lived on the Bayside of Houston - in between Houston and Galveston, so we were a habitual deck shoe, flip flop kind of family.

As we four began exploring, we found that walking around on our land was a dangerous and painful activity. Vines covered in thorns were everywhere! They would end up wrapping around our ankles, digging in and yanking off skin. The four of us were constantly dancing around and yelping out loud in pain. At the time, it wasn't funny, but looking's kind of a sure sign that we had absolutely NO CLUE about what we were doing. One careful step would cause a massive thorn to protrude through the flip flop into our foot. Taking high steps helped, so we all looked ultra-ridiculous as if we were marching and our knees were reaching for the sky!

No doubt, we were ill-prepared for taking a simple walk on our land. A walk that I had imagined in a dreamy-fashion to be wonderfully peaceful, pleasant and leisurely. Instead, we were hot, and there were bugs, bees and wasps everywhere which caused us girls to frantically run in circles and get more caught up in the thorny vines as we panicked. We were a mess. I began to wonder if this had been a huge mistake. My master-planned neighborhood began to look enticing again.

By the time we left the land, we were the walking wounded. I spent quite a while removing thorns from everyone's legs and feet and applying anti-biotic cream to our open wounds. I vowed to get rid of every thorny bush and shrub on our land. HA! You can't exactly use Weed-Be-Gone on acres and acres of land. There was no avoiding the thorns...since our land had hills, bluffs, creeks and was a challenge to walk, we were not able to avoid all of the thorny vines. These painful vines would become a part of our life.

I was learning, but it came slow. I promised myself that the next time we came to our land that I would wear my Keds!!!

Yes, I thought that actual "tennis shoes" would be so much better. Don't ask me why I thought my ankle-less Keds would do the trick. The next time we went to our property, I put on my Keds for our hike and they were destroyed very quickly. My nice, "pricey," leather Keds. Wasn't leather supposed to hold up? Oh well. My learning curve was DEEP.

My husband's leg. A typical example of the thorn's revenge
upon our tromping around.

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