American History

Ben H. English Texas Alpine 🤠

BigBen National Park Texas


“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.”
~ Louis L’Amour


When this country has a dry year, as it is wont to do, you tend to see the land from a different perspective. Like any living creature bent on survival, the desert adapts to these circumstances by changing its routes, its behaviour and its daily activities.

What is frivolous is ignored or forgotten, what is of little importance is sacrificed and what can be saved and built upon is guarded, even at cost of living, with renewed determination and zealotry. In turn every living thing; every animal, bird, plant or insect, also adapts to these changes.

If it does not, it will die and something more adaptable will take its place. As I have said to others many times before, the lower Big Bend is a place where the ball marked ‘Darwinism’ is always in play.

But the observant man, the man who sees what is happening in the here and now, uses these deviations in nature to learn more of what is around him. He pays attention to animal tracks, the flight of birds, the buzzing of bees and the sight of anything green that tips the desert’s hand as to where water can be found.

In this, he learns where the most dependable sources are hidden away, be it seep, spring or tinaja. For even these are in a sort of battle with the desert, as well as each other.

Once he finds or rediscovers these spots, another view of the world around becomes readily evident, be it in the past, the present or the future. For where water is found signs of man are found with it, no matter how unlikely the location may be.

Whether ten thousand years ago or only a century past, the remains of those prior lives are present if you know how and where to look.

More so, this epiphany of sorts will also point to where life will be found in the future, no matter how challenging the surrounding environment might be.

For it is the way of the desert, and the way of the desert born…


Today I have been accepted as a full member of the Western Writers of America. Founded in 1953, this premier group is made of those who are intricately involved in stories of the west.

Numbering now around 700 individuals, the list runs the gamut of authors of fiction as well as non-fiction work, poets, screenwriters, songwriters and an occasional historian.

For men of a thrill going back to my childhood years.

You see, I can still remember my grandfather resting in the evening after a hard day’s ranch work. He’d be sitting in his old recliner with his feet up, boots off and crumpled black socks showing.

On either side was a large cardboard box, one containing westerns he had read and the other those he hadn’t. In his hands was usually bookmaking the trip from one box to its opposing mate.

He let me scrounge through both of those boxes for my reading material, and I learned that some of the best had some mention of the Western Writers of America.

That or a blurb about being a winner of the WWA’s prestigious Spur award.

And now I am a full member of that same organization.

I would like to think my grandfather would have been a bit thrilled himself…

Merry Christmas to All,

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)
Facebook: Ben H. English
‘Graying but still game’
Creative Texts Publishers
Crockett County Public Library
Medina Community Library
The Twig Book Shop
Old Town Books
The Boerne Bookshop
Hill Country Books
Marta Powell Stafford
Lone Star Literary Life
Historic Fort Stockton
Museum of the Big Bend
Clueless Gent


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)