San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


My Getaway: A Conversation with Geneva Gano

Geneva Gano grew up on a farm in Central Washington State, where she participated in 4-H and rode horses. She attended Stanford University, served in AmeriCorps, and has worked in both public and private schools teaching in the humanities and in ESL. She attended graduate school at UCLA, where she received a Ph.D. in English, with a minor in Women’s Studies. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Texas State University. She lives in San Marcos with her husband, two children, two dogs, three chickens, and four cats.

Why do you value the natural areas?

Natural areas give me a chance for quietness, away from the noises of our things and toward the sounds of the life around me. I am a teacher and mother, so most of my days I spend responding to people and tending to them. When I am in nature, whether moving through or sitting still, I can immerse myself in the world. I am an observer, not an instructor or problem-solver or caretaker. I am a part, but not a leader. It is a space where I can just be a living creature without having to direct the show. It is a relief to be part of a bigger world.

Who or what most influenced your view of the natural world?

My dad was the biggest influence on my relationship to nature. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in the town he and his father and his grandfather grew up in. He knew the region well, and we hiked, camped, fished, boated, and skied together. We went to the mountains in winter to cut our Christmas trees, and in the summer we harvested huckleberries there.

What is your favorite trail?

I have lots of favorite trails, but I think the best is the little loop on Purgatory off Prospect Street. Every Mother’s Day I try to get a family photo with the cactus blossoms (tunas) there, and every year I can never quite capture the right image. One day! I love the variety of nature that I encounter there: rocky paths, meadows, sinkholes, spider trees, pond, everything.

What do you most enjoy doing when you visit the Greenbelt?

I most enjoy walking on the paths by myself or with my family or friends, but I also go running at Alamo Street near my house and I walk the dog, too. I like being quiet, just absorbing what is around me as I move.

What recommendations would you give new users of the trail?

My best recommendation for using the trail at Prospect is to watch for uneven ground as you walk! But also, just to attend to the natural world. This short hike is long enough for you to get away from your day, close enough to town to make it an accessible spot for everyday use, and shady enough to be usable all year ‘round.

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