Driving and Biking in the Big City

Suburban sentiments and sightings

with 2 comments

God's thumbnail

God’s thumbnail


Star-gazing on the gully

It happens about once a week. I might complain about the traffic or muse about something interesting I saw on my commute from the ’burbs to the city. I won’t go for an after-work drink or out to dinner in Houston because “I’ve got to get home.”

Then, I hear myself say it, “It’s a long drive – about an hour each way.” My listener, mostly city residents, will flinch at the thought.

The commute actually is getting longer and longer every week. It wasn’t but about 45 minutes at the most just 10 years ago. Before that, when I commuted at night, I’d give myself 35 minutes to get to University of Houston where I was an adjunct professor.

“Sure, I mind,” I answer to the follow-up flinch.

“But I like where I live and I like where I work.” I actually love my home and my job but I don’t want to rub it in. I couldn’t have this job in the ’burbs and I couldn’t afford a place in the city with so much space, I say instead.

“It’s a choice. My choice,” I say, and I choose it five days a week.

One of the main reasons I love my suburban home is the gully behind our house.

I grew up 90 miles from here so I’m used to waterways — bayous, gullies, rivers, drainage ditches, canals and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico, leading straight to the ocean. In Southeast Texas, we build every type of water containment possible to help with drainage because we live in a hurricane-prone area that is often below sea level and basically has its own rainy season.

We are lucky to have this gully behind our house not just for the extra space but because it keeps us from flooding . . . at least so far. And, it makes for evening and weekend adventures.


Patsy always enjoyed a dip in the gully after a hound walk.

Tucker in the grass

Tucker enjoys a back scratch on the gully

We have an abundance of birds including egrets, blue herons and two red-shouldered hawks that visit daily. I saw one of those hawks swoop down in front of my dog walk once, grab a snake from the high grass nearer the water and go soaring away with about a three-foot snake in his mouth. Quite a surprise. I hadn’t seen the hawk much less the snake.

We have dog-sized turtles and cat-sized frogs. I used to walk at sunset intentionally to see two deer who made their way to a nearby bridge every evening. I once saw a coyote, carrying what looked like a bunny, home for supper — make that breakfast, it was early.

Neighbors' garden

Neighbors grow flowers and vegetables on the gully

We have good neighbors along the gully including three families in a row who are gardening back there – some vegetables and some beautiful flowers. The open space also allows some great star gazing. I’m an amateur astronomer and we can take the Celestron to the gully for our own star parties.

Frog - Copy

The gully has a “frog season” and we are visited by hundreds

Mostly, I walk the dogs — now just Tucker — on the gully. I’ve chased every hound I’ve ever had into and around the gully many days. My old Patsy hound, gone now about 18 months, loved to lounge in the gully like a hippopotamus. Tucker is an easy boy. We walk or we bike. He stays beside me and we appreciate and enjoy the extra space.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

November 21, 2015 at 5:56 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Denise, I found your blog and enjoyed reading several of your posts, so I subscribed. It is very curious that I found your blog while attempting to research the Cheryl Calloway murder from Arlington, Texas in 1974. I grew up in Arlington during that time and have always wondered about that case. I was wondering if you still have copies of the articles you wrote about that murder. I would like to have copies of them and any other information you would be willing to share with me. I am contemplating taking a swing at a book on growing up in Arlington in that time and this murder was a devastating event to many people I knew. Feel free to email me at the address ( Thank you.

    Robbie Lawing

    January 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

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