When photographer Mabry Campbell took the shot of the Houston Water Wall that graces our cover, his aim was to make a well-documented sight look unrecognizable, disorienting even. The picture was taken before 2020, but looking at it now, it seems as if it was conceived to evoke the feeling of this year—when everything familiar is askew, not quite recognizable. For most of us, our daily lives have changed dramatically, and previously routine tasks are tinged with uncertainty about our health and security.
For me, the counterbalance to the anxiety of the present is the new outlook it gives me on how much I have to be thankful for. Like being able to work on this magazine and knowing we are creating it for a community of readers who share in our enthusiasm for the beauty of Texas and the joy of discovering new places to explore. Not having the same freedom to travel as we did in previous summers has given me a deeper appreciation for past trips and brought sharper focus to my memories. Like a few autumns ago when my then 3-year-old son kept mistakenly referring to Big Bend National Park as Big Bend Magical Park on our first family trip there. Or the time I took the scenic route on a solo drive from my home in Driftwood to Rockport, where I enjoyed three-and-a-half glorious hours of quiet contemplation with nothing more pressing to do than take in the view.
Like Campbell’s photo, my memories of those trips haven’t changed, but my perspective has. Wherever you find yourself in this challenging year, my hope is that the stories and pictures we share each month bring moments of comfort, levity, and appreciation for our shared Texas landscapes.
Emily Roberts Stone
Editor in Chief