Out There – Essays on the Lower Big Bend
When one opens the pages to this book they step into another world and place, and even on occasions, another time. No matter what you may know about the lower Big Bend or think you know about the lower Big Bend, here are thoughts, maps and photographs that bring together a heretofore unachieved mosaic of this rugged, lonesome land. In effect, Out There is a work that others simply cannot compare to. Whether you might be a first-time visitor or have made many a journey into its more remote environs, there is so much contained within to both see as well as savor. It is a book meant to be read and re-read time and again. If home is where the heart is, even the first few paragraphs leave no doubt as to where the author’s resides. And that is only the beginning.
“Kate Blanchard woke up one morning in a dream home she could no longer afford, a young son who needed a man’s influence and not a friend among those who claimed to be prior to her husband’s mysterious disappearance.
About all she could lay claim to was a ramshackle ranch along Terlingua Creek, sitting forlornly in the desolate reaches of the lower Big Bend in Texas. It was the only place left she could go. There she finds a home, and a presence of something strange yet comforting that she can’t fully put her finger on or understand.
With that ethereal presence comes Solomon Zacatecas, a loner with his own past and a knowledge of her land near uncanny in nature. He helps her when no one else can and is honest when no one else will be, but she suspicions that he is not completely so.
Yet her quiet, unassuming neighbor proves to be more than capable in whatever situation arises. That includes when standing alone against those who would take everything else that Kate had, including her life as well as her son’s.”
Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend
It was a time before Terlingua Ranch and chili cook-offs, and when you could drive a hundred miles without seeing another vehicle or another person. The year was 1961, and the tides of humanity which ebbed and flowed into the lower reaches of the Big Bend were at their historical nadir. It was a vast, empty land spotted by isolated ranch headquarters, a national park with few visitors, and the many ruins of a past shrouded in legend, lore, and improbable truths. There was no television, no daytime radio, few telephones, and very few people.
Ben H. English came to the Big Bend at the age of two, the fifth of six generations of his family to call this enigmatic region home. With his family headquartered at the old Lajitas Trading Post, he worked and lived on ranches and places now little more than forgotten dots on yellowing maps. He attended the one-room schoolhouse at Terlingua, prowled the banks of the Rio Grande, and crisscrossed the surrounding areas time and again on horseback and by foot.
Some fifty years later he writes about those many decades ago, as well as the history and legends of this singular land he knows so well. Ben separates fact from fiction and brings the reader into a world that few these days can ever imagine, much less experience. He also writes about the lower Big Bend as it is found now, and what one can still rediscover just over the next rise.
Yonderings is available at one of these fine merchants: