The Warmth of the Frio

The Rio Frio came by its name honestly. Spring-fed, shallow and clear, it’s a cold river: perhaps the coldest in Texas.  It can slow to a trickle in summer heat, and, when in flood, puts roadways underwater in a flash.  But if the Frio is flowing well, singing steadily over the rocks, its coursing is pure pleasure.

Other Texas rivers — particularly the Guadalupe, the Comal, and the San Marcos — are famed as venues for kayaking and tubing, but they flow through urban centers. When the season ends and river rats dry off for a final time, there still are dance halls and concerts, festivals, antique shops, and galleries to entertain the crowds.

Along the Frio, things are different.  As the weather turns and school begins, provisioning companies shutter their doors until spring.  Families continue to gather at Garner State Park for weekends of camping and fishing, and birders flock into the valley to track the autumn migration. Hunters fan out into ranchlands in pursuit of whitetail, while autumn bikers test themselves against the famous hairpin turns and steep grades of the “Twisted Sisters.”  Still, the pace of life begins to slow. As it does, the Frio and her people show a different face to the world: a face filled with unexpected beauty and warmth.
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Published in: on December 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm  Comments (97)  
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The Shying of A Violet

So,
  shaded
violet,
sweetly bowered
  beneath these tendriled
  branches, why turn away
from morning’s recognition?
Avert your face from plucking hands?
“True mystery,” sighs the bending bough.
 “A puzzle,”  flocked and wand’ring warblers sing.

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For more information on the Etheree, a syllabic poem that, in its basic form, contains ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, please click HERE.

Those Days We Didn’t Die

Lingering at the breakfast table, an hour or two of chores already completed, he folds away the newspaper before turning to smile at the small, barefoot disturbance running into his kitchen.

“Are you done, Grandpa?” Glancing toward the over-sized cup resting on the table next to its deep, broad saucer he says, “No, not quite. Do you want a turn?” Not waiting for a reply, he pushes back his chair as I hop from one foot to the other, filled to the brim with impatience.

Carrying his cup to the stove, he fills it with coffee from the dented aluminum pot that’s been keeping on the back burner, then turns to ease into his chair. Carefully, he pours some of the dark, fragrant liquid into the saucer and hands it to me. 

Gently at first, then more confidently, I ripple the muddy, steaming pond with my breath. Daring to take a sip, I find the coffee still too hot for drinking so I continue on, breathing across the bowl until a second sip or a third no longer burns my lips.  Only then do I hand the saucer to my grandfather. “Perfect,” he says with another smile, sipping the cooled coffee from the saucer. Refilling it from the cup he drinks again, pouring and filling and drinking until the last of the coffee is gone. (more…)

Published in: on August 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm  Comments (123)  
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The Tale of Godot & Godette

Readers know the truth. Closing the cover on a well-told tale is one of the most satisfying experiences in the world. 

Breathing a sigh, caught between worlds, still oblivious to the clamor of unmade beds and untended gardens vying for their attention, readers linger at the threshhold of half-remembered lives, hesitant to turn from the vibrant, constructed world they entered with such anticipation, happy to have discovered all the pleasures of diversion, insight and beauty it once allowed.

Still, as I set aside the story of Godot, my self-effacing little cactus with the extravagant blossoms, I was content. The history of his rescue, the drama of his against-all-odds determination to bloom and the glory of his flowering had been recounted, and it was time to move on.

From all appearances, Godot was equally satisfied. As his blossoms faded and fell, he didn’t fuss or complain but re-dedicated himself to growing quietly in his corner. Life went on, as life does, and all was at peace on the porch. (more…)

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm  Comments (87)  
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Godot Gives It Another Go

“What’s happening with Godot this year?” she asked. Startled, I said I didn’t know. I’d paid scant attention to my little patio friend since April, when inspections revealed no sign of activity in the cactus pot – no new growth, no buds, no blooms. By the beginning of May things still were quiet and, as happens in so many families, the quiet and well-behaved one was left to fend for himself.

Of course, turning your back on the quiet one can be dangerous. Left to their own devices, there’s no telling what they’ll get up to. (more…)

Published in: on June 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Comments (98)  
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