January 12, 2011 #122 – Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Ghost of Cactus Jack

Well, after many weeks of traveling down through the Texas Pan Handle and admiring this beautiful desert country we have found the Internet near Austin, TX.  I spent many a night under desert skies, listening to the coyotes sing their songs, as meteors, lunar eclipses, and the change from fall to winter constellations drew my eyes and ears.  I have found that I love the desert. There is something new to see every day. I feel like I did when I was a young lad.  Everything is strange to the senses. It’s like starting a new life, learning the plants, walking without the distractions that occur in the bustling areas of the US.  As a wildlife biologist in the mid-west for forty years I am experiencing living creatures that have only existed for me in books. It takes a while to get used to walking, as everything is guarded by spines, thorns, or needles, and does not have any pity on the awkward or careless. I am doing OK now, but had to remove my share and lose some blood for a while.

I have been reading a lot about the paleo-history as we travel. I have become fascinated by the early Native American Peoples of the region and their methods of living in this land. Each plant and animal seems to have been utilized in many ways and it is fun seeing what I have been reading about. I was only dimly aware that great wars were fought over hundreds and thousands of years. Native peoples moved from many places, some as far as Canada and displaced whole nations. It seems that no one was able to hold a particular region over long time spans. The people displaced and those new here then adapting to the new habitats. I just completed reading the book chronicling the journey across  this region by Cabez de Vaca in the 1540’s the first Europeans to see much of this land and live with the pre-horse native people. Another interesting book was Geronimo's Autobiography dictated at the end of the 1800's. (Both freely available on Google Books) He gives us a glimpse into growing up in the Apache Culture of the region. There is much more to see and learn. I will write as the opportunity's arise but this blog will probably be sparse for a while.

Clear Skies - Rich

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