My Ma and I drove down to stay with my brother at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, where he is so lucky to be running a farm. The Texas roads were exciting.
Cypress Valley is a beautiful place, nestled in the Hill Country west of Austin and near the Pedernales River. The creek bed is overgrown with palm ferns and old growth cypress trees, littered with fossils and quartz.
My brother has a cabin out there in a field next to the buffalo with his own (scorpion and hornet infested) outhouse. We used a shovel to dig holes for our business.
I found myself enamored with the buffalo, as if I was seeing an old friend for the first time in centuries. Zeus, who cannot be seen in all his glory, came down to the field as a buffalo, and I was open-mouthed and paralyzed as this god stood before me.
And the farm: My brother Ariel has planted the Three Sisters: corn, squash and beans, as well as tomatoes, eggplant, and an assortment of other vegetables. He raises chickens, two goslings, four top bar bee hives, and helps care for four horses. Every Saturday he takes his produce to the Austin Farmer's Market. I helped him plant, lay irrigation, feed the animals and mulch some beds.
A thunderstorm moved in the night after Ma left and my brother and I stayed up late talking and listening as the wind thrashed the aluminum roof and thunder rolled through the sky. Ariel has an outdoor shower on his porch which I happily used when he was off running errands.
I got to take a zip line tour of the canopy and jump into the lake like Tarzan on a rope!
On a more personal note, just before we came down to the Hill Country, an old family friend had just returned the heirloom Les Paul guitar that our father had promised to my brother Ariel. In a briefly emotional moment, Ariel got to play the guitar for the first time in years.
Likewise, Ariel had a guitar of our father's that I had always wanted to play, a hollow-bodied electric. Ariel never played it on account of having a handmade Rosas from Spain. Ariel entrusted it to me and I took it back with me on the bus.
Thanks, dude. I love you.