Ben H. English

Ben H. English

“Kingdoms are but the lengthened shadows of kings.”
–Charles L. Feinberg

“Once upon a time and really not that long ago, the lower Big Bend teemed with a Texas institution you don’t see much anymore: the working ranch.

Now I am not talking about a forty acre ‘ranchita,’ or an exotic game preserve, a nature conservancy, or a glorified tax write-off for the rich and want-to-be famous, and I am not saying that any of those are necessarily a bad thing.

But my memories, my heart, goes back to those places where generations of hardy men and women lived on working ranches both big and small…”

–Ben H. English ‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend.’”


My own words drifted through my thinking as we made our way up Trough Canyon, in an isolated pocket of the Rosillos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. Behind us was a decaying windmill and matching water tanks, as well as what was left of a concrete trough in the floor of the forming gorge.

I was not by myself, but rather with Brother Chris Johnson and his two sons Elijah and Gabriel. They had come all the way from the northwestern part of Arkansas to bathe their spirits in this lonesome land, but had only been able to get away during Spring Break.

That made for a whole lot less of the lonesome. Yet for three days we managed to go places where we saw not a soul, and on this day we didn’t even find a footprint of one.

And so it was when we came to Alamo Spring, standing in the old trap above where the cottonwoods once provided shade. Other that a southerly breeze wafting through, not a sound could be heard when one chose to be silent.

The ensuing quietude was needed solace for the soul, and the scenery was breathtaking.

That was when I decided to take this photograph.

I hope each of you can sense, even in the slightest, of what was here.

God bless 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.’


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)