Ben H. English



This past week has been a hard one in the state of Texas, and much harder on some than others. The utterly reprehensible, even evil, acts of a single cankerous sore upon humanity have sown heartbreak and discord which will ripple out for generations to come.

I was born in Uvalde, and by that time my mother’s people had already been there several decades. They were peace officers, firemen, farmers, bee keepers, painters, linemen and military veterans and each had a somewhat mild mannered, genteel quality that laid lightly over an underlying good natured wit and wisdom. Visiting them was always a blessing, and my boyhood was made full with their memories.

Then last Tuesday morning happened.

Soon enough, amid the grief and sense of irreplaceable loss the all-too-predictable vicious rancor and finger pointing began, aided and abetted by a sensationalist driven media, base political intrigues and crass, even vulgar public behavior by those who should know better.

Each were drivers of all sorts of rumors, ugly innuendos, cries of cowardice, and demand for easy, instant answers and solutions from a complicated, tedious criminal investigation, which in turn only added fuel to the already hellish blaze.

In the original Star Trek TV series, there is a tell-tale episode where an alien entity manipulates the natural emotions of the crew of the Enterprise, turning them into raging animals with no sense of reasoned thought or common decency. They become little more than bloodthirsty beasts, brimming with uncontrollable hates.

Meanwhile, the alien entity became only stronger and more formidable, as hate is what it fed upon and which served as its only reason to exist. When put into a Biblical context, the true enemy should become immediately apparent.

Those same thoughts came to me a few days later, as I worked my way through the upper reaches of the Tornillo Basin. Alone in this lonesome land where I find balance and sustenance, my mind wandered as much as my body as both drifted along farther away from anywhere or anyone else.

While so far adrift as to be nearly at the park boundary, I spied a mostly hidden spot with more than a few stories to tell. Turning up the wide, sandy creek bed, I began my usual zig zag pattern to better see what was around me.

Soon enough I came to the point of three dry pour offs, some twenty to thirty feet high and arranged in a semi-circular pattern. It was a wild, somewhat verdant place for the general location, made more so by water being usually present. The signs of javelina, coyote, deer, elk and of the big cat were in abundance, as well as the watchful shadows of the carrion birds soaring above.

It was the last pour off explored where the salve for my sagging spirit was found. Amid the twisted, gnarled trunks and branches of mesquite I spied the one in the photograph, making its last stand on the very rim.

Undaunted by lack of moisture, the blazing sun, its perilous position or time itself, this supremely hardy symbol of West Texas continued to take on all comers. Meanwhile below and coming through solid rock, a tap root reached for something to sustain it from below.

One word alone came to me while viewing this long-standing struggle, and I christened this never ceasing gladiator ‘Faith.’

For this is perseverance.

This is survival.

This is life.

And this is how we must fight our one common enemy.

God bless to all,


--HICO Friday-Saturday, June 10th-11th Billy the Kid Museum Old West Festival
--BOERNE Saturday, July 9th Patrick Heath Public Library, 11 am-3 pm
--MEDINA Monday, July 11th The Core House Ministries Book Signing, 11 am-2 pm
--MEDINA Monday, July 11th Faith and Freedom Celebration Speaker Medina Community Library 4 pm
--ABILENE Thursday, August 18th Frontier Texas! 3-5 pm
--ALPINE Saturday-Sunday, September 3rd-4th, Big Bend Gun & Knife Show, Pete P. Gallego Center
--SAN ANGELO Thursday, September 15th Stephens Central Library, 6-8 pm
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)
‘Black And White: Tales of the Texas Highway Patrol' (scheduled release June 2022)

‘Graying but still game’

Facebook: Ben H. English

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)