Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

Beware Homo Sunvabichicus

Roy Bedichek was an Austin boy better known as a naturalist than for his actual profession. If he were alive today he would most certainly be a highly sought after guest speaker for master naturalist chapter meetings across Texas.  Roy Bedichek, like Stevie Ray Vaughn, is so beloved in Austin that he has been immortalized in bronze near one of the city’s most adored bodies of water—Barton Creek Pool.  More on that later. I was first introduced to Roy Bedichek by my daughter-in-law, in the form of a… Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Out here, the north Texas shortgrass prairie seems infinite under a relentless sun and perpetual withering wind. The land spreads flat to the horizon, making it hard to believe the earth really is round. Like a great blonde ocean there is nothing but monotonous repetition in all directions, without end. This is the southern high plains, named El Llano Estacado by the Spanish. Then, suddenly, the earth falls away before you, plunging 800 feet, presenting a gash stretching 120 miles long and 20 miles wide, gaping like some… Read More →

Morning Mists

I could subsist on morning mist—Jarod Kintz We have all been enchanted, at one time or another, by some awesome display of nature. A field of wildflowers, a pastel rainbow, big mountains in mantles of snow, sunlight reflected on the water, the rich white inner light of a full moon. Why do we notice?  By what force is our attention stolen, seemingly beyond our power to resist?  Could it be the rarity—the fear that we may never again witness a sight so grand?  Is it because we don’t… Read More →

The Ghosts of Monahans

  At its most basic level, all experiences can be described as “good,” provided you survive them. While crossing West Texas in pursuit of a cooler June climate in the mountains of New Mexico, we parked our RV for four days at Monahans Sandhills State Park, outside Monahans, Texas. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, the ambient temperature was a withering 103 degrees.  As we navigated our way around the narrow, winding asphalt road to our campsite, I remember an eerie sense that this would be—for reasons I could not… Read More →

Bulls Eye At Ten Paces

The scene is a fruit stand in Paris, a wet sidewalk reflects the hard mineral blue of the morning sky. Streets are all but deserted. As the camera pans in closer, Penelope the cat comes into view; around the corner scampers a shiny black skunk. The proprietor is clearly agitated: Cat/Penelope: Le mew? Le purrrrrrr. Proprietor: A-a-ahhh. Le pussy ferocious! Remove zot skunk! Zot cat-pole from ze premises!! Avec !! Cat/Penelope: (Smells skunk) Sniff, sniff, sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff. Pepé: Quel est ? *notices cat* Ahh… le belle femme skunk fatale… *clicks… Read More →