I began to drive aimlessly northwest of the city. I found myself in Tioga, a small town whose regionally famous BBQ I again by-passed.
I had my bearings, and found myself driving towards gorgeous Lake Ray Roberts. I detoured when I saw a country road sign saying that Gainesville was only 12 miles. Gainesville is in Cooke County, and is a regional center for horseraising folks. I wanted to sample the wares of the well-known fried pie shop in downtown Gainesville.
Alas, the shop, though still in business, was closed on Sundays. I made a mental note to arrive some Saturday when it first opens at 7 a.m., so that I might sample the freshest pies.
I drove on down to Lake Ray Roberts, which is in the "cross timbers" forest region. Although stereotypically, the further west one drives from Collin County, the more prairie-like things become, the cross timbers woodlands are an exception to this rule. It's a nice mix of hardwoods of various kinds--oaks, elms, and understory, along with a sprinkling of pines.
Lake Ray Roberts has a nice walking/biking trail through the heart of woodlands. I took an hour's walk, during which hour I spotted five cottontail rabbits; one lizard who must have been at least a foot from head to tail, though very slender and slow-going; a question-mark butterfly; several buckeye butterflies; blooming Indian blanket flowers with their flowers red tinged with yellow; Indian paintbrush flowers, with their orange stalks; several prickly pear cacti in bloom, with each flower a huge yellow affair the size of my fist; and many black vultures, looking somehow out of place.
Two of the cottontail rabbits were young bunnies, who stood, unmoving, until I was just a few feet away. I found myself telling them that it was okay, but that they should go and hide.
I drove the hour's trip home on farm roads and obscure little highways. Everywhere in the fields I saw tall, green grasses, horses, burros, longhorn cattle, and signs for ranches. I loved the apploosa horse farm I saw early in the day--apaloosas look so good as to be unreal to me.
I thought to myself about living in the moment--about a needlessly thoughtless unkind thing I said last night to my spouse, about the importance of soaking in and absorbing the colors and sights and the sheer relaxation of it all.
It's been a good weekend. I may work a little this evening, but I'm glad I rested a bit.