Big Bend Valley… Texas

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

It feels good being here… That is what I gained by leaving.


A Google search on “Big Bend Valley” will bring up more than what I could ever read or write. They will not be however the same words I have in mind, one cannot describe or even start expressing them unless experiencing the land we rest on right now. Of course “The Oasis” has a big part in my senses inundated daily by this feeling of well being. The roots have gone in deeper and deeper, nonetheless not meaning that my desires for traveling have diminished as… again I am getting a bit “antsy”. Maybe there are not true words for how this space can lay it’s wisdom upon many.

old barn a

old barn b old barn c

I know I am not the only one, and yet I don’t know how truly others feel or have felt in the past when I witness abandoned dwellings turned into landmarks while riding the serene and lonely roads in this neighborhood. We call it a neighborhood even if neighbors are miles away from each other, we are on the west side of the main road, Highway #118. We call it the “better side” as a joke amongst ourselves, the less populated side. And yet, there are no secrets here! A cookout? someone is sick? a dog runs away… a road needing some grading… power lines going up here and there, I am still asked every time I go to town how am I feeling. I was thinking today how all this is happening? On the days of these cast aside dwellings, horses and buggies earlier even, words of mouth, the news I am sure spread still like wild fire. Today is the age of the Internet. The instant gratification of “searches”, the up to the minute news spreads out as never before.

old house b

old house a old house c

We are ourselves a couple miles away from it all and yet here is a land line, the incredible speed of DSL, Wi Fi, and having traded my old phone now for an I Phone, the ability to reply and receive messages while out on the land from amazing distances. As the SPOT we used has been returned, waiting to find out if we can get sponsored by the Company, the county has provided us with a SAT phone for an indefinite time at the cost of only $15/300mn’s of usage per month. Good? Bad? They are just the signs of the times, fast and faster, however convenient and helpful in case of emergencies. We are connected… there is no doubt about it. It’s all good.

hardware sign

Terlingua store a  

And yet, no one should expect a comfort in this zone which for so many years travelers have avoided even passing through. The comfort can become reality only if a “nice house” is available, either ready from previous owners or built at great expenses. I took the “White Elephant” today to town, Terlingua, as I need to do every three weeks or so. 28 gallons of propane in 5 separate containers as there is no delivery available unless living in a dwelling, emptied and washed my black and gray water tanks, refilled the main water tank and my many 3G and 1G water jugs, close to 100G, some food shopping at a price including the far distance we live at… and came back. Laundry also… how can I forget always meeting interesting locals while the adobe powder soiled clothes have spun and ready for more of the dust we live with.

Terlingua store d

Terlingua store c Terlingua store b

5G of water is two showers for me. I mostly cook on the fire, fortunate enough to have been given much great pecan wood. The water tank becomes empty, 3G at the time I refill it, I cannot lift more weight. Maybe some day we will have a water catchment set up. All is simple, very simple and physically and time demanding. I would not trade this Life with any other one feeling within this simplicity, yet more comfortable than living in a tent as we do the many summer months, as it is this simplicity that brings me closer to Mother Nature, understanding the steps it takes to just here survive. My analogy has always been toward the person complaining of the price of produce while shopping. I have heard and seen frowns about the bunch of green onions going up 20 cents, or the spinach washed and ready to eat following the same suit. So few can even imagine what it has taken to display such produce so easily reached while listening to the ambient music of the supermarket and within one swing of the arm ending up in the cart, cart even sometimes hand delivered to the trunk of the car or truck.

Terlingua mall f

Terlingua mall d  

The land had to be prepared, the produce had to be planted, harvested, cleaned, bagged, transported, delivered and finally, bypassing even the notions of the responsible parties doing their ordering properly, including their billing and paper trace, displayed for everyone’s pleasure… Food has become expensive and yet, so inexpensive in the big scheme of things. Produce is a bit as living here, it takes many steps so few can even imagine. But, the air is free here, the full moons are, as also the sun rays and the many incredible daily sunrises and sunsets. The well being is for the taking. It is served on a silver platter even if we have to haul our own water and get our hands dirty from the dust shielding this space from it all. We wear torn clothes, no one will judge you here from the cover of the book you display, no one will judge you at all. I might have now answered my own question as to “yet I don’t know how truly others feel”.

Terlingua mall a

Terlingua mall e Terlingua mall g

I was today reminded, told maybe, by a Friend, that I was being too harsh in my own words toward others living their own more materialistic Life. A City Life. I was reminded that I had a camera, a motorcycle with a sidecar, even White Elephant providing us with the much needed shelter for those cold winter months. I have a laptop, and phone and on and on… Mainly that “I have” chosen “this Life” versus the many other paths that previously crossed my own. I always appreciate the words of Friends, I only write what I feel and want so much for others. I feel maybe too alarmed that “too much” of anything will derail many from feeling and living a Life they could some day be so content with it. Maybe I feel wrong and I apologize for it, yet, I will never stop perceiving that too much “stuff” between Mother Nature and I might have an adverse reaction to my mental Health… whatever is left of it.

Terlingua mall b

Terlingua mall c  

I choose this Life because for two years after Lance passed away I was lost. I was myself not living anymore, and one day, other Friends of mine which I shared then their home with, kicked me out nicely and said for me to hit the road. That was the beginning of my own healing, that was the beginning of also Spirit’s remedy toward his past abused Life. So we are here now, we are on the roads, their shoulders, the valleys and mountain tops, the canyons and the now dry river beds. We have attained a level I don’t believe we would have reached otherwise. It has been beyond a physical Journey, the mind has found a maze I did not know existed. We are not looking for the exit. We are only traveling through it’s corridors feeling tentatively it’s texture yet so new to us, as every day, every hour of this moment lays with us never letting us down.


Twenty nine months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Internet connections, bandwidth, cameras, fuel… they are all part of this Blog allowing page after page to be published. Contributions to the site are welcomed always. 

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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4 Responses to “Big Bend Valley… Texas”

  1. Ginny Says:

    As always, I love reading your words and feeling them. The photographs are always so awesome and combined with your words, I have much to think about…

    My sister sent me a cool present for my birthday. It’s a back packer’s hammock. It weighs only 12 ounces and during the summer I plan on using it and leaving the tent at home. I can’t wait to try it out! Saturday night I thought about you and Spirit, and wondered what you might be doing while I was sleeping under the stars in a hammock(not the one my sister sent me). I have a friend who has a few acres of land out in the country and we camped out there. It was lovely. How I wish I could be outdoors more, I feel completely at home outside…I can’t understand how some people hate being outdoors…

    My daughter found a puppy alongside of the road…it’s pit a bull female. She says the poor little girl was starving. Her dad won’t let her keep the dog though and as much as I wish I could…I can’t. Anyway, my daughter says she thinks the puppy is about six months old. She’s very sweet, not food aggressive or aggressive towards their other animals. Do you know anyone in Austin who might be able to provide a good home?

    Let me know…please feel free to call me soon. 🙂


  2. MsBelinda Says:

    I love reading your blog. I find peace and tranquility in your words and in your photographs. Looking at that picture of the Terlingua Store also brought me a bit of nostalgia…

  3. Zelda Says:

    Hi Ara and Spirit,
    I love the sunrise and moonrise pictures, and everything in between. Words fall short. Thanks for sharing your discoveries. Good health to you and Spirit.

  4. Patrick Says:

    Wow, I read about your journey on Pashnit and was amazed! I love the comforts of having a place to call home and the security of a roof over my head but a part of me is envious of your freedom. The stories you tell bring a huge smile to my face and remind me how much I love my own dog. I wish you and Spirit the best of luck and good health out there! Your life story is a good one, to many people go through the motions in life w/o realizing what really matters, something you seem to have a firm grasp of!

    Stay safe,

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