Ben H. English

Ben H. English ~ Texas

“Todavía estoy aquí, I am still here.
Todavía estoy aquí, my soul is dancing in the moonlight.
I mingle with each grain of sand, in the land that is my birthright.
I am still here, todavía estoy aquí”…
–Dave Stamey, ‘The Vaquero Song’

Rock Spring is one of those spots in the lower Big Bend that most have never heard of, even if they are fairly familiar with the area. Once accessed by a trail that led off to the north through the small canyon, or a wagon road that ran west toward Reynold’s Well, this place was the site of camps of different eras and cultures from the time of the ancients.

Now the trail has been washed away and the wagon road is all but gone, lost in a sea of prickly prayer, creosote and sotol. The only way remaining for the curious and adventuresome is by foot these days, and I was passing through enroute to the head of Pine Canyon.

Standing above what remained of the old rock house, I surveyed the scene of solitude before me. The spring that once flowed freely is now more of a saturated bog, with traces of surface water intermingled with thick green undergrowth.

The stone walls, fence posts and rusting wire for the goat pens were half demolished, having fallen over to partially cover the far older metate holes. An obvious Indian camp sat upstream, bordered by two piles of rocks that could be the resting spot for someone’s pet, or perhaps someone’s child.

Then there was the casa itself, facing forward to look across the small canyon and up to the craggy heights of Pummel Peak, which in turn was crowned by God’s own majestic blue sky. The crumbling supports for what had been a home was near overrun by large patches of prickly pear, decorated with multitudes of purple and red pears as if ready for Christmas.

And while taking this all in, I could feel down inside the pushing against that thin veil that separates one plane of existence from the next. Their voices whispering the words through the cottonwoods both alive or decaying:

“Todovia estoy aqui…”

And I moved on, leaving their spirits to their individual rests in this peaceful, quiet place.

God bless to all,

To hear the song containing the lyrics above, please click on this link:

Ben H. English
Alpine, Texas
USMC: 1976-1983
THP: 1986-2008

Author of ‘Yonderings’ (TCU Press)
‘Destiny’s Way’ (Creative Texts Publishers)
‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend’ (Creative Texts Publishers)
‘The Uvalde Raider’ (Creative Texts Publishers)
Facebook: Ben H. English
‘Graying but still game.’


Life is like a bunch of roses. Some sparkle like raindrops. Some fade when there's no sun. Some just fade away in time. Some dance in many colors. Some drop with hanging wings. Some make you fall in love. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life you can be sure of, you will not get out ALIVE.(sorry about that)

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