Finding Home

Houston 1

Photo by Ed Schipul

It’s now been nearly a month since the floods started. Houston, my hometown, is no stranger to storms and flooding. I watched from 150 miles inland as my friends and family braced for another big hurricane, stocking up on food and supplies, preparing to “hunker down” and ride out yet another wind and rain-soaked weekend.

As the world knows, things went a bit differently this time. Due to an utterly bonkers storm path, Houston was flooded with an unprecedented 11 trillion(ish) gallons of water over several days of torrential rain.

Houston 2

Photo by Fernando Garcia

I watched from Austin, feeling utterly helpless on one hand, and also full of pride at the resilience and will that Houston was showing to the world. Houston is a misunderstood city, and the vibe of the place has to be experienced before anyone can even begin to grasp its complexity. Houston has hustle, motivation, and gritty creativity. Houston grinds hard.

Houston 3

Photo by Patrick Feller

About a week after the storm, I got the opportunity to spend a few days there working, to fill in for people who had lost their homes. Driving into the city at night, I was expecting to see darkness and devastation. Instead, I was amazed at how normal everything looked. There were road closures and a lot of areas were still flooded, but overall the city’s resilience filled me with happiness and pride.

When I prepared to come home to Austin later that week, I asked myself why I had felt such a need to come back, and what I had gained from doing it. I had occasionally gone back to Houston for family or social functions, but I had never felt such a Need to go there.

In the end, going back to where I came from revealed my transformation in a very concrete way. Living and working there for a short time was like stepping into a time machine, inhabiting my old life for a few days, and then stepping back into the present and seeing very clearly the contrast between who I am now and who I was then.

Double Vanishing

Photo by Fernando Garcia

I realized that Houston will always be my hometown, and that I will always respect and appreciate its unique power. That moving on doesn’t have to mean turning my back on the place, because Houston is where I learned my hustle, my grind, my will – things that will never leave me, qualities that define me.

I know that I’ve brought some of my hometown’s magic to Austin with me, and my presence here has transformed the magical current of the capital city in some way. There’s no question that Houston transformed me, and I will always look to the southeast with love.

The Sentinel of Houston’s Metropolis Pylon has started a Setian blog which can be found here.

This post about Houston is of special interest and I highly recommend it.