Rampant ’rona

Mailbox paint

Closeup of mottled paint on a mailbox.

Chalk art

Sidewalk chalk art.

The crazy, topsy-turvy, chaotic, yea dangerous times…a version of the blues…and blues in the photo selections…somehow these linked in my mind.

Edible colors

Small magnolia

While out for my walk, I experimented with portrait mode on flowers again.

Lichen mosaic

Also shot old school.

Night stairs

Night light fun: computational photo. I’m pretty sure the metal steps are painted black. The red came from fancy-SUV taillights, but the blue is a mystery to me.

Before I walked, I encountered a quote from Autumn de Wilde, director of the very recently released movie “Emma,” Jane Austin retold. She told the New Yorker/Sarah Larson that for the decor of Emma’s home: “I wanted it to be like a pastry shop. I told my departments, ‘The colors need to feel edible.'” I wondered what the most edible colors are. She went, the article says with a pink and green combo. Hmm. Depends on the food, but the flower and the lichen-on-brick seem to offer workable shades—the staircase not so much.


Bee portrait

I experimented with portrait mode today, using flowers as subjects. And a bee.

Double dills


Portrait camellia

Ruby camellia. Didn’t work as well with the nearby vegetation.

Taxus I think

This one didn’t work either, with the wood-chip background so close, but you get an idea what the programming is optimized to do. Ugly, and I’m a fan of evergreens.


Bee butt

Hanging out. (The bee.)

Leaves hanging on

Hanging on. (The leaves.)

Science moments

Prismatic bending

Light refraction.

Fern stomata

Fern stomata.

Circulation restricted?

Frost on car window

Apologies for going on about the weather, but today’s highs and lows were about 20°F lower than yesterday’s. Didn’t have frost on the car window yesterday….

Camellia flower drop

Cold snap may have played in this camellia flower drop.

Rusty yardart

Random artsy photo: close-up of rusty yardart.

Rotate 90

Rotate ninety photo: nothing more needs to be said. [Shadow has a lumpiness because I had lifted my hoodie sweatshirt to around my neck; gives me superhero shoulders.]

Title refers to a general lack of intellectual astuteness evidenced lately on this-here blog, and hypothesizes about why.

Perhaps the warming weather trend will provide a boost? On the other hand, we already have more rain this month than the January average, and more is coming this week. Eek!

Please stand by

Bauble bush

I found several homeowners deconstructing last month’s seasonal decorations. But this bauble bush survives intact.

Tree distortion

Of course, we know that month after month is a continuum, but our human brains want to categorize and divide. Perhaps last year was layered and distorted and not straightforward?

Sun bursting through

And this year will be bright and clearly defined?

Time will tell.

Texas hecho

Window dawn light

With a major push of over 740 miles, we “Texas hecho,” that is: we finished with Texas, and are sleeping in Louisiana. ’Bout darned time.

Chisos in mirror

The first photo is of dawn through the Window (formation), Chisos Mountains. The second is intended to illustrate leaving the Chisos Basin.

Border inspection

Ah, yes, toddling down the road in these parts means an interview with Border Inspection personnel. Darned perfunctory quiz this time. He almost forgot to ask if we were US citizens. Don’t think we were stopped for even a minute. A battery of powerful cameras take many photos of vehicle and occupants before you stop—and also of the traffic in the opposite direction. Very creepy. My messy hair and sunglasses are now backed up in databases from Texas to Moscow, I’m hypothesizing.

Sotol n power

Pushing north to get out of the park, then turning east…power generation…Texas is an energy state, but it’s not all petroleum-based energy.

Bison bison

Only bison of the trip.

Auto rack

Auto racks in sunset light somewhere near Waco, I think.

Yawn. Over and out.


Cloud from sun

As we were leaving the dining room, these wispy clouds came in, I think generated by the sun hitting the air. Cool, cool morning. Frost on the windshield cool.

Window trail sign

With a big, hot breakfast on board we headed out down the trail to The Window of last night’s sunset photograph.

Chisos Basin rt N

Here’s the mountain face to our right, to the north, as we began our descent.

Mex jay

Look at that! A Mexican jay.

Chisos basin SW

You can tell it’s chilly…and windy. I have my coat on over three layers and am glad I can stuff my hands in my pockets. Yes, I have on a windproof neck buff, ear band, and a baseball cap—all of them. That’s the left or southwest wall of the Chisos Basin behind me.

Window ahead

That gap is the Window that we’re descending toward. That’s the desiccating blossom stalk of a Havard agave, if I remember right.

Boulder detail

Detail of a boulder we had to go around. It looks different than most of the other rocks around this immediate area.

Bear trio afar

Lookee over there! Way over there, thankfully…long lens…a trio of bears, perhaps a mom and two cubs. They were way up on the slope to our left and pretty far away and not interested in us. Whew.

Window closer

Getting closer to the window. Are those clouds coming in? I promised the Guru we had to go early so we wouldn’t be out in the heat of the day…but where’s the heat???? 😉

Window final

We trekked carefully past a spring and crossed the water several times to work our way down to finally view through the Window! Vista found! Now, time to ascend. Glad it’s cool finally, but not looking forward to headwind through canyon above Window.

Spring water return

Here’s the spring water, and the trail-builders worked hard to make steps in the bedrock to make hikers safer.

Side path window

Took a side path for a short distance for another view out the Window. From here you can hardly tell how deep the canyon is.

Return to basin


RG RB carrizo

We got out just fine, took a lunch break, then headed out in the pickup. Here’s the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo from hear a hot springs. I know this cane as carrizo from my time in Oaxaca. Yes, that’s Mexico on the other side, so let’s all call it carrizo, or car-ee-so.


Driving along, making our way back to the turn that will take us back into the Chisos Basin for the night, we found this coyote by the road.

Goodnight CG

I’ll take this as a goodnight from our patron peak, Casa Grande, right above our modest room. I’m sure all the rooms here are modest. The bling is in the views. And the critter sightings.

Wild lands (mostly)

Open bean cafe

We stayed in an end-of-the-road town, too small to have chain motels, and I supposed that’s why the one we stayed in, clean and maintained, offered no breakfast. So we went down the street, and enjoyed a hot breakfast at a little café. We learned from observing the men who came in that the proper greeting is, “Buenos días, how are you?” and that it’s possible to wrangle 157 horses before breakfast. I don’t know how big the crew was doing that.

Jesus wedding gown

We ventured into the local grocery store for a few supplies. We skipped the many institutional sized cans of food (pozole, anyone) and Mexican brand cookies, and even these Jesus candles. Looks to me like he’s modeling a wedding dress, but I probably don’t understand this imagery.

Colt n mom

Then we began moseying downriver, following the Rio Grande toward its mouth far away. We passed a large state park (miles) and some ranches. Found this mostly grown colt and perhaps mom getting their breakfast.

RG n mountains

That’s the Rio Grande, or the Río Bravo to people living on the other side, in México. As in: “I can see Mexico from my pickup.”

Church n sun

Took the old road for a stretch, going through surprisingly still active dispersed communities. This church was hanging on, but the second one in this area was decrepit and unused.

RGRSP hoodoos

Hoodoos overlooking the RG/RB. (From a pano, if it looks a bit distorted.)

Sta elena cnyn

Finally, we crossed into Big Bend National Park, and our first stop is this dramatic canyon, named for Santa Elena. Last time we were here, the water was much lower, and we walked into the cleft. Computational photography means detail is visible in the dark canyon faces.

Mules ears formations

Meet Mules Ears. There’s a trail going over to it, but we were content to look from here.

Olive tinted formation

These olive tinted layers caught my eye.

Sotol stand

This spot is called Sotol Overlook. These are sotol plants, pronounced soh-tohl, but the Guru says they are so-tall. 😉

Deerly walking

I walked up the hill from our room and heard noise in the brush to my left, looked, and: wow! two deer grazing. I froze and prepared to photograph. They were unconcerned. I got this shot when the second one crossed the street, looking down at the Guru sitting in the porch-shade (difficult to see).

Golden hr

Golden hour on the rocks above the lodge.

Window sunset

Sunset through the formation called The Window.