Ben H. English

Ben. H. English



“A heap of broken images, where the sun bears,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.
Only there is a shadow under this red rock.”
–T.S. Eliot


Much as a banished rock figurine from his like brethren in faraway Easter Island, a lone sentinel looks out across the Chihuahuan Desert, staring toward the Christmas Mountain Range in the north. Perched above Alamo Creek in Big Bend National Park, he has likely served as a landmark for as long as man has journeyed this way.

Nearby are the slowly vanishing remnants of an old road that once wound past, snaking its way up a feeder gorge that provides the easiest access into the adjoining maze of arroyos and canyons running north and west of Tule Mountain.

The worn and eroded track ends at a man made pond some distance away, where it turned into a trail that ran through the pass between Tule Mountain and the western edge of Burro Mesa. Ultimately, it led all the way to Tule Spring and the collapsing ruins situated there.

Over the decades, this path has for the most part near disappeared.

But the natural terrain features and ease of passage the route followed remain, giving the occasional sojourner several options to veer off into the vastness to either side and beyond.

Lying in this general area are otherworldly formations of sheets of rocks, clefts and boulders of every color and description. There are also tinajas, springs and shelters used by the Ancients who now occupy unknown graves, their stories also unknown due to dead languages that no human ear has heard for a thousand years.

Few go here. When the uninformed eye sweeps over this terrain, the only instinct is to move on to greener expanses. It is too hot, too windy, too dry, too remote and too inhospitable in every manner, save for lizards, snakes, the muley deer an occasional black bear and the big cat.

But the banished sentinel knows better, and that is why he was emplaced here eons ago. His is the spot that marks the outermost boundaries of the hidden grandeur to be found in such a land, and he guards the secrets contained within to the best of his etched in stone ability.

Stoicism is his main forte, and duty his only cause for existence.

God bless to all,


Ben H. English
Alpine, Texas
USMC: 1976-1983
THP: 1986-2008

Author of ‘Yonderings’ (TCU Press)
‘Destiny’s Way’ (Creative Texts Publishers)
‘Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend’ (Creative Texts Publishers)
‘The Uvalde Raider’ (Creative Texts Publishers)

Facebook: Ben H. English

‘Graying but still game’

The Stable Performance Cars
Far Flung Outdoor Center
Medina Community Library
Groves Branch Library
Front Street Books
Javelinas and Hollyhocks
Creative Texts Publishers
Museum of the Big Bend
Billy the Kid Museum
Dan Edwards
Dave Durant
Chris Ryan
Vicki Shroyer
Bridgit Bailey-Giedeman
Sue Land
Julie Brunson Childs

By Peace Truth

Life is like a bunch of roses. Some sparkle like raindrops. Some fade when there's no sun. Some just fade away in time. Some dance in many colors. Some drop with hanging wings. Some make you fall in love. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life you can be sure of, you will not get out ALIVE.(sorry about that)