I’ve been thinking a lot about space, probably because I am getting ready to own some. I’ve also been listening to a lot of music, which only helps to foster my thinking. In particular, I’ve been listening to the band Explosions in the Sky, who, incidentally, appears on a Friday Night Lights soundtrack. They are a Texas-based band, which made them the perfect candidates for the show, which was also filmed primarily on location in Texas, and which supported the local Texan economy in many other ways. More importantly, though, Explosions in the Sky’s entirely instrumental music perfectly captures the feeling of the wide expanses of Texas skyline and the country roads and farm land that prompted Tim Riggins’ infamous plea: “Texas forever.” When you listen to Explosions in the Sky, you can see Tim Riggins clinking beers with a buddy, looking quietly and pensively out over a gorgeous expanse of land he hopes to call his home.
Rural Texas was the perfect setting for Friday Night Lights. Not because it is the football capital of the world, but because the show is about the quiet moments, the space between the games, the excitement, the big stuff. Rural living gives you that emotional space to collect yourself. Space, in general, gives you the ability to collect your feelings and internalize them. In my senior seminar paper for undergrad, I wrote about the hauntingly beautiful book, AVA by Carole Maso. The book itself is written in short, poetic lines that have lots of white space in between, and in my paper, I argue that the beauty of the book is in the ability of the reader to collect a personal, emotional response between the lines.
I’m no stranger to space. After living and teaching in a small town for a few years, I truly understood the emotional depths and self-awareness you could reach while driving along country roads. I knew it wasn’t for me, but I got it. I understood why you would want to settle down there, make a life there. Having the space to collect yourself, to fully experience your quietest emotions, is a privilege.
It was the rural living that prompted me, originally, to decide I wanted to move to the city. Experiencing my quietest emotions scared me, and I wasn’t ready to face the questions that raised – especially after I met Tim. Was I ready to be a wife? Did I want children? Had I done everything I wanted to do with my life? The hustle and bustle of the city seemed an oasis from that kind of thinking. There would be so much going on there, I thought, that I would no longer have to think about these questions. I would have so many things to do there that I wouldn’t have to make any of those big decisions.
The realization that we wanted to live in the suburbs was not an easy one. And, though I wasn’t thinking this way when the decision was made, as I was listening to my music and driving the other day, I pictured myself in our (huge) backyard at dusk, sitting and enjoying a glass of wine, watching the fireflies and listening to the crickets, and I was glad that I would have the space to quiet my mind, to explore my emotions, to just breathe.
Photo courtesy of No Name Farm/Ranch