Flown Away

Nanci Griffith ~ July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021

 

Gulf coast highway, he worked the rails;
He worked the rice fields with their cold, dark wells;
He worked the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico;
The only thing we’ve ever owned is this old house here by the road.
And when he dies he says he’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
She walked through springtime when I was home;
The days were sweet, our nights were warm;
The seasons changed, the jobs would come,
The flowers fade, and this old house felt so alone
When the work took me away.
And when she dies she says she’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And she will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring
Highway 90, the jobs are gone;
We tend our garden, we set the sun;
This is the only place on Earth bluebonnets grow,
And once a year they come and go
At this old house here by the road.
And when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
Yes when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away together
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
                   “Gulf Coast Highway” ~ Nanci Griffith, James Hooker, Danny Flowers

 

Comments always are welcome.

Galveston Saturday Night

Panoramic view of Galveston, Texas ~ Saturday evening, February 20
Photo by Galveston Chaser (Click to enlarge)

 

A week and a few days ago, winter came to the Texas coast.
Tonight, the snow is gone, the lights are on,
and from a distance Galveston seems to be shining in her accustomed way.
Days and weeks of work will be required to repair the damage,
but, tonight, glasses were raised in tribute to the smaller victories.
It’s the Texas Way.

Comments always are welcome.

Winter Storm Bingo

Well, it’s been quite an experience. As a neighbor said yesterday, “I’m tired of living through a historical event.” But power is coming back, and boiling water is a small price to pay for having water. Yesterday, I found clear and dry roads: a far cry from what Texas experienced for days.

Austin, Texas

To say that Texas cities aren’t equipped for snow removal is an understatement. On the other hand, at least one Texan has a sense of humor.

Out in the country, substituting tractor tires (or hay bales) and chains for snow plows helps to clear the roads.

Bandera County

Of course, not everyone was able to travel.

Galveston Island

Some decided that walking was the better option.

Austin

Between checking the temperature and charging their cell phones in the car, a lot of people played Winter Storm Bingo — but you had to cross off every square to win.

Eventually, some areas began to thaw, roads cleared, and the lines at generator-powered fast food restaurants stretched for blocks.

Despite it all, the beauty was memorable. These photos, taken by Will Leverett at or near Stillwaters Ranch in Llano County, tell the tale. Located near the Willow City Loop and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, they celebrate a rarely seen view of the Texas landscape.

This is not a Longhorn. It’s a modern American breed: Ankole-Watusi

I’d like to see such sights in person one day, although, to be honest, I’d prefer seeing them with a functioning power grid to keep things a little more comfortable at home.

Comments always are welcome.
Photos other than Will Leverett’s were being widely shared online, without attribution.

Hill Country Rivers ~ The Guadalupe

South Fork of the Guadalupe

After rising in western Kerr county, the North Fork of the Guadalupe River runs east, joining with the South Fork near the community of Hunt. After the branches converge, the river flows southeast for 230 miles over a limestone bed lined with cypress, pecan, sycamore, elm, and live oak before terminating at San Antonio Bay.

The upper Guadalupe flows across part of the Edwards Plateau, where high limestone bluffs support bald cypress, mesquite, and grasses. After crossing the Balcones fault line near New Braunfels, the river enters coastal plains and becomes a slower, more placid river.

South Fork detail

Named by Alonso De León, the river has been known the Guadalupe, or Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, since 1689.  Early explorers encountered Tonkawa, Waco, Lipan Apache, and Karankawa Indians along its banks: descendents of even earlier inhabitants of the area.

The Guadalupe River after the joining of the North and South Forks

Longer, deeper, and more amenable to navigation than the Sabinal, the Guadalupe quickly drew settlers to its banks. Europeans arrived as early as the 1720s, when the Spanish established several missions on the upper Guadalupe. Early settlements included Victoria, San Marcos (home of Texas State University and a prime destination for river tubers), and Gonzales, where the first shot in the battle for Texas independence was fired.

Other communities eventually emerged and thrived, including Seguin, New Braunfels, and Kerrville. The small river town ofComfort was the site of one of the Guadalupes’s greatest tragedies; ten children returning from a week at camp perished in the worst flash flooding since 1932.

A river ran through here ~ Cypress and limestone

While the reputation of the Guadalupe as a haven for summertime swimmers and tubers is well deserved, the equal pleasures of a stroll along its banks are available year-round. River-tumbled rocks, late flowers in bloom or not, rusty cypress needles, and water-stirred grasses never lose their appeal.



A hidden North Fork pool

 

Comments always are welcome.
As always, you can enlarge the images for greater detail. For a more detailed history of the river, this Texas State Historical Association article is useful.

Hill Country Rivers ~ The Sabinal

Sabinal ~ River and rock

Many decades ago, I associated only two rivers with Texas: the Red, which marks a portion of the border between Oklahoma and Texas, and the Rio Grande, our border to the south.

Over time, I discovered how river-rich the state actually is, and how striking differences among our rivers can be. My favorite hill country rivers  — the Frio, Sabinal, Guadalupe, and Medina — are nothing like the broad, muddy Brazos and San Bernard flowing through my southeast Texas neighborhood.

The Sabinal, a favorite feature of Lost Maples State Natural Area, rises from springs percolating through the limestone rock common there. After flowing through steep canyons, the river eventually joins the Rio Frio; in turn, the Frio flows into the Nueces, which ends at Corpus Christi Bay.

The Sabinal, flowing

Fed by a variety of creeks, the river traverses flat to rolling terrain; the surrounding sandy and clay loams support a variety of hardwoods and grasses. Once paralleled by a well-known Indian trail designated ‘Comanche Trail’ on early Spanish maps, the river originally was known as Arroyo de la Soledad, or ‘Stream of Solitude.’ Solitude still can be found there, as well as a wealth of natural beauty.

Solitary Sabinal seeds

 

Comments always are welcome.