The stories in this Panhandle special issue invalidate the stereotype of the region as a place you drive through on your way to somewhere else. While the Panhandle’s most well-known features—its wind, flatness, and wide-open spaces—may be understated, they are central to its charm. Author George Saunders, who was born in Amarillo, puts it most poetically when he describes the area in this issue’s Speaking of Texas interview as “a geomorphic embodiment of minimalism.”
Musician and fellow Amarilloan Hayden Pedigo, pictured above and on the cover, says he finds inspiration at the edges of town. “I appreciate the silence of Amarillo and the Panhandle. It really forces you to think and to come up with new ideas,” he says. “Some people think Amarillo is ugly; I just think you have to look a little harder.” This idea of searching below the surface is reflected throughout the issue, whether it’s writer Lauren Hough chasing the wind in hopes of defining the undefinable, or editor-at-large Christopher Collins illuminating the plight of the ephemeral playa lakes that sustain the region’s ecology. Other stories in the issue cover noteworthy attractions and history in Plainview, Lubbock, Pampa, and Hereford, among others.
Photographer Tiffany Hofeldt, who was in town to capture the revitalization of Amarillo, went on a mural scavenger hunt to shoot the cover. The painting of two coyotes, called The Lovers, is located between two parking lots downtown at South Polk and Eighth streets. The mural is one of more than 60 around town, just one facet of the city’s burgeoning art scene. Cover story writer Jennifer Stewart recommends more than a weekend trip to take in the breadth of Amarillo’s art, dining, and natural attractions. After all, the Panhandle rewards the curious traveler.