Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

A Problem For Helen

Lurking underground . . . in an exceptionally crafted lair. The ingenious trap door is so perfectly camouflaged as to be indistinguishable from surrounding turf. An inch within the cavern, as daylight sparkles through the cracks, his eyes appear lanterns burning with unholy oil. Careful not to make a single sound, barely breathing, waiting. Further back in the tunnel are corpses wrapped and compressed, as though they’ve been put though a micro bailing machine—an extended mausoleum where Dracula’s silky evil serves as coffins for an assortment of insects…. Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Possum Kingdom State Park

In Spanish it means “The River of the Arms of God.” Emerging from New Mexico, the Brazos River rambles for 1,280 miles across Texas, empting itself into the Gulf of Mexico. It cuts a wide arc and serves as the informal dividing line between east Texas and the rest of the state. It’s dammed in only three places.  The first of these, just north of Waco, forms Possum Kingdom Lake, a basin that spreads like 20,000 acres of liquid metal over 300 miles of endless shoreline. Among the… Read More →

Life With Tyrannosaurus Rex

So many extinct creatures . . . yet the lines of succession for genetic descendants are remarkable. Life on prehistoric earth was tough. Most everything was bigger, badder and creepier looking than it is today.  As repulsive as modern-day cockroaches are, they pale by comparison next to some of their nocturnal praying-mantis-like predatory ancestors. A number of different animal species survived the dinosaur extinction and some of them, in true cockroach fashion, evolved primordially hideous.  Take, for example, the modern-day Opossum. Opossum-like peradectids also lived during the dinosaur… Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Choke Canyon State Park

Most state parks overwhelm you with warning signs, so they’re easy to ignore; this one isn’t: “BEWARE ALLIGATORS EXIST IN THIS PARK.” As you pick your way along the reed-filled shoreline, this sign grabs your attention—especially if you have a toddler or a dog. Turns out you are in the westernmost stomping grounds of the American Alligator. Local experience says you wouldn’t see a lot of alligators in Choke Canyon State Park but the few you might see could be relatively large.  Fact is, one Braxton Bielski, 18… Read More →

A Springtime Walk In The Woods

Rambling aimlessly down the trail, I notice the night dew still clings to the soil and makes the plants glisten. In the east, the sun breaks like a yolk on the horizon and it seems all of creation is suddenly awake.  A happy sort of clamor fills the air. Squirrels chatter and chase each other through the boughs. Birds raise their voices in promise—to fly together, to breed, nourish, sing. Trees are festooned with glossy leaves under long lance rays; each breath holds the fragrance of new flowers…. Read More →