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Acrylic painting by Peg at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute

Acrylic painting by Peg at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute

Google Places and Platypie

Remembering the Desert and Southwest Texas

January 8, 2013

It’s the the beginning of a new year, and for a change we are not traveling on New Year’s day. For the first time since we left New York City in 2009 we have decided in advance to stay someplace for at least a month. The place we have chosen is San Diego, California. As of January 1, we are set up on Mission Bay and at the moment parked beneath some very tall palm tress and watching ducks, coots, pelicans and grebes as they entertain us.

Remembering the Desert and Southwest Texas

Evenings, I’ve been looking look back through old photographs and drawings from  the past few years and trying to think about some of the places we’ve passed through.

There are always pictures... and last night I was particularly stuck by the lonely desolation that the photos and my sketches from Southwest Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert portray. Just looking at some of them again made my eyes dry, and my insides feel barren. Midland, Big Bend Country, Alpine, Marfa and Fort Davis... El Paso, Terlingua, Presidio...Ranch Roads and Border Patrols. Third World and the Rio Grande... miles and miles of nothing...then maybe a couple of horses or cattle the same color as the dust... here and there an oil well pumping away. I have spent weeks and months in that part of the United States... It surprises me, as I sit here by the bay in the warm sunshine, that I long for that landscape. It is so fierce and brutal. I remember when I would spot a single dwelling  or a few old trailers through the blowing sand - I would to wonder who might live in such a place and ponder what it must be like.

Flat sounds, flat country - wind, the drone of the engine as we crossed miles and miles of desert. Closed up tight to keep out the dust and sand, the radio and our iPad music sound discordant - we ride silently.

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This is not even fly over country unless it is, for some reason, your destination.

Sometimes I think we’ve been headed back to Big Bend ever since we started this journey.

An interesting read by a woman who lived near Alpine, Texas: I’ll Gather My Geese, Hallie Crawford Stillwell

It's interesting that you've been in both my worlds. I grew up in Rochester, NY (love both the Eastman House and Corning Glass Factory) but was transplanted to Midland. There is a unique beauty here and the best sunsets and lightning storms you've ever seen. Although I do need my "nature fix" from time to time. So I'll get in the RV and go somewhere where they have trees and water and I reminds me a little more of NY.


Remember, this was known as "The Great American Desert," third largest in area in the world.

Sam H

I also traveled those desolate places, and found them very beautiful. The flatness was what struck me. I remember watching a passing train. I saw the whole train from back to front!

Have a great rest!


The acrylic painting is excellent !!


Happy New Year Peg and Bernie. Hope you enjoy San Diego - good choice to lay low for a month.

Eddie K

Next time you're traveling between San Antonio and Laredo you can stop and visit with my cousin Larry Friedman and his wife Kathleen at their ranch. They have horses, llamas and camels and a lot of dogs. It is indeed a mystery why, after being through such dusty, windy, deserted, dun-colored country, you would choose to sojourn in San Diego.

I guess it takes all types.

Missing you,

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