I can't find the reference now, but I remember its essence.  Look upon the land and hold it in your heart for when it is taken away its memory remains. The speaker I do remember was a Lakota Sioux to his people at the onset of white encroachment and Indian removal. Memory often holds what is no longer--memory, the only way perhaps both to reach back and to move forward. I thought of this when I read of the 2.5 million honeybees inadvertently killed in South Carolina during a morning aerial...

Framed, just like that--what a picture.  But I didn't have my camera. Or binoculars.  I tried with the cell phone but even the zoom didn't bring him into focus.  And the window screen blurred what image it captured. There'd been foxes in my yard before.  Gray foxes.  The kind I think I saw when I was a kid out at the farm.   I've always said my nearly 100-year-old bungalow farmhouse on the outskirts of Vega, Texas was like living in a pasture.  And the foxes proved it.  When...

It was the yellow shirt I saw first.  A canary yellow tee-shirt against the parched bench he sat on.  But there was a flash of something else. "Are you a potter?" I blurted out, surprising myself with my spontaneous directness. (I'm normally rather shy and though I get accused of encouraging conversation on airplanes, think of myself as more of an observer than an aggressive talker.} "Hmmmm." I couldn't quite make out what Mr. Yellow Shirt was saying. But he kept marking--what some folks would call doodling--on a cup. A styroform cup, the kind...

It wasn't the first time I'd stood in front of an O'Keeffe painting.  There was the one at the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas and of course all those at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.  This one, at the Harwood Museum in Taos, seemed special though. 1929.  She had already established herself as a major American artist and had visited New Mexico several times.  "Grey Cross with Blue" is one of her Taos paintings inspired perhaps by the Penitentes traditions or the famous Ranchos de Taos...

We were a group of writers at a University of New Mexico workshop in Santa Fe.  Ten of us poured over xerox copies and computers; the workshop leader, a faint redhead who looked vaguely like a recreational hiker--khaki shorts and pale checked shirt--shared our reading of the day: "Raptorous" by Brian Doyle. The piece had appeared in Orion, a prestigious nature/environmental magazine, and it had all the hallmarks of perfection: great voice, pacing, vivid language, and ever present surprise.  Doyle began by discussing facts about hummingbirds and riffed on...

Ok, so I know they are mostly like gazelles with muscle.  And they can dribble the ball like nobody's business and hit those three-pointers.  Today's women basketball players. In my day you were innovative if you had a jump shot.  Hook shots were still lethal.  And passing was prized over dribbling, maybe because none of us was a Globe-Trotter. But one of my special memories is being taken by Gene Haliburton, who worked at Vega schools and was a huge basketball fan, to a Wayland Flying Queen ballgame.  Who remembers...

They both perished at the hands of the U.S. Calvary who finally discovered their last refuge in the vast Palo Duro Canyon.  For years the historic marker in the canyon told the story from the U.S. government perspective: how many savages surprised, how many captured or killed, the destroying of over 1000 Indian horses. I can hear the horses screaming in the early mornings.  Sound traveling through memory. The Comanches preferred the wide canyons like the Palo Duro and perhaps this was their undoing.  The Kiowa preferred deep canyons where...

Recently I received a request from my newly hired publicist for a "head shot."  It sounded simple enough. I clicked on a couple of photos used by the press previously for my book and off they went. "Can't use. Low resolution.  If you can't fix it, send something else."  And yet the press, two newspapers, and others had reproduced the shot without fuzziness. Maybe it was just my glasses. I wrote back to my good friend, David, who made the original shot. "Take out the turkey neck while you are at...

Back some time in the l980s (do we speak in decades now?) I decided to plant some Arizona Cypress trees at my Vega house.  Fast growing, drought resistant.  The house sits in the middle of a prairie; I've always said no matter what I tried to do with the yard, I lived in the middle of a prairie. Daddy teased me about the trees.  "They're not going to be tall enough to shade your grave," he jibed even as he helped me dig the holes.  That was Daddy: he...

Texas Highways magazine has asked me to write an article ("IF there are museums, IF there are restaurants") about Highway 385.  I'm talking about 385 from Vega to Boys' Ranch, or as I still like to call it, Old Tascosa. It's a travel magazine, right?  So there needs to be something to see--several somethings.  The guy sending the email requesting the article allowed there might not be enough to write about. I want to say, yes there is: this was an old bison road (bison being the proper term for...