his is a book about our land and the people who live upon it today, but it is also a book about our history. When we think of Texas, we think of the Alamo and the Longhorn, the Comanches and the Rangers, wildcatters, Spindletop, and the Hughes drill bit. We think of tacos, brisket,and sweet tea. The tech geeks among us might think of NASA and
the integrated circuit. 

What we rarely think about is just how new all of these very Texan things really are. Whether your ancestors got here in 1528, 1700, or 1836, we are all newcomers—simply the most recent in a long lineof people who have called this beautiful land their home. People havebeen living in Texas for at least fifteen thousand years—the Alibates
Flint Quarries, just to pick one place, has been in continuous usefor more than ten millennia. 

There is a deep history here, but you don’t have to pick up a bookto see it—you can simply walk out into your yard, or to the parkor arroyo behind your house. 

When I look at a plant, I don’t just see the plant itself. I see a livingpart of our history. I see how our ancestors learned to thrive in this country. I see the foods and tools that allowed them to feed their families, fall in love, and build their lives and communities. 

Texas has always been a desirable place to live. The great ice sheetthat covered the rest of the country never quite reached these parts. Our climate was temperate, our water was good. Our people, then as now, thrived. I hope in Kevin’s photographs you get a sense of that, of the pride we all share in this land and of the connection
we feel to those who have come before us.