‘Once more the quietness enshrouded them as they stared off across the river. The cloud layering was still there but the sun was peeking underneath as it set in the southwest.
The ensuing effect was one of those magical golden hours, the time of the evening when the land takes on that certain tint that only accentuates its natural contours and colors. Even the clouds themselves were lit up as the refracted light took their normal shades of gray into hues of yellow, red, pink, purple and that ever-present sheen of gold.
“That is…beautiful,” Abby breathed.
“That it is,” agreed Micah.
Not another word was shared as they watched the brilliant orange orb slip below the horizon, taking the golden tint and the rainbow of other colors with it. Abby let out a sigh as it all disappeared before them and the chill of dusk began to set in.’
–Ben H. English. ‘The Uvalde Raider’
Though this scene actually takes place overlooking the Nueces River southwest of Uvalde, the words I wrote near fit equally well in this photo taken below Hot Springs in Big Bend National Park. Rugged beauty is rugged beauty, and my native land of West Texas and the Trans Pecos region teems with near countless variations of such sights.
Generations ago, my ancestors stood in this same spot and looked out across the Rio Grande, the sandy slopes west of Boquillas and on to the mighty reaches of the Sierra del Carmen. Those long since passed whisper in my ear in rhythm with the breeze wafting through the creosote and ocotillo, reminding me of their continuing presence just beyond the veil.
Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, my family started drifting this direction from the Carrizo Springs area, south of Uvalde with that same Nueces River running between. They came and stayed awhile or stayed a lifetime, but for each one this land remained deep in their heart and their spirit, and no other place on earth could ever hope to erase their memories of this place.
That is why I know they are still here, still roaming around and reminding me of this birthright, possessed so fiercely in my own heart and spirit.
And that is why I write these words, to give homage to them and their kind, and to remind others of what a precious gift and great responsibility we carry as native Texans.
This is our home, folks, and there is no other like it the world over…
God bless to all,
Ben H. English
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’