Pam LeBlanc practices her nightly twirl while her husband, Chris, takes a photo on the street and with a drone. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

People across the globe have been hunkering down amid stay-at-home orders, and frankly, some of us are getting a little stir crazy.

Humans are resilient, though, and we’re always finding ways to cope—like New Yorkers cheering from their balconies or the Spanish fitness instructor who led an exercise class for his fellow apartment residents from building’s rooftop.

Such rituals are part release for pent-up frustration, part gratitude for workers on the front lines, and part communal relief from spending so much time stuck at home.

In Texas, I’ve heard of similar rituals unfolding at homes across the state—from backyard camping, to dancing in the streets, and a nightly howl to the heavens.

Pam LeBlanc twirls on her street in Austin. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

In the Mueller neighborhood of Austin, homeowners dance on their driveways in a show of Texas-style pluck. And in my Allandale neighborhood in Austin, we declare a theme night once a week—such as “Over the Rainbow” or “Superheroes”—and families spill onto their driveways or plop down on blankets in their front yard, dressed in costumes, with social distancing to spare. Some of us have been pitching tents on our lawns and pretending we’re in the backcountry, too.

In the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, a hand-written cardboard sign tacked to a wooden pole reads “Let’s All Howl Together, 8 p.m. sharp.” It’s an Austin spin on a movement that started in Denver, where at 8 p.m. nightly residents open their windows or step outside, tip back their heads and unleash a series of howls. The movement now has its own Facebook page (Go Outside and Howl at 8pm) with more than 538,000 members around the globe.

I’m putting my own spin on things. Every evening, after a day spent slouching over my computer wearing an old T-shirt, my hair growing like invasive weeds (salons aren’t essential?), I pretend I’m going out for a night on the town. I slip on high-heeled shoes, don a fancy dress, pour a craft cocktail, and step outside.The simple act of twirling—the fabric of each flouncy dress billowing up around me—makes feel better. (See all my twirls on Instagram at @pamleblancadventures.)

Friends are getting in on the action too, some dressing up, another sipping from a different coffee mug daily.

We’re Texas. We’re known for our self-sufficiency and pluck. I haven’t heard any howls yet, but I’m trying to rile up my pack of friends. If you hear a yip or two at precisely 8 p.m., please join in.

Howling, I’m sure, can make us all feel better.

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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