A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO, I was sitting in the Military Plaza office of San Antonio mayor Ed Garza as he tried to explain to me how a proposed 2,600-acre Professional Golfers' Association resort situated on a portion of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone would be a safe project for the city's sole source of drinking water. "I think anything can be designed to be environmentally friendly," he told me.
AT FIRST GLANCE, THE KATY prairie is little more than a flat expanse of land beyond Houston's western suburbs, lacking distinguishing features to the point that it appears to be just a giant plat waiting for a subdivision. Ponder it long enough, though, and the nuances begin to manifest themselves. Cattle egrets emerging from the brush. Two varieties of whistling ducks in flight. Critters flushed out of the grasses. A horizon so totally level that on a clear day, you can see the skyline of Houston, thirty miles away.
TODAY PORT ARTHUR IS A ROUGH, run-down refinery town, but when my father arrived there in the late 1940’s, it was booming. Big companies like Gulf and Texaco had been in the city since the early 1900’s. After World War II, those and other refiners began expanding to serve the thousands of new filling stations sprouting across America. New stores, hotels, and restaurants arose. Downtown pulsed with nightlife.
The first clue that nature had given us a second chance appeared on the steep, winding road up to the Chisos Mountains basin and the lodge where we intended to spend the night. Our headlights flashed across a black-on-yellow bear-crossing sign. After an absence of more than fifty years, the Mexican black bear is once again a resident of Big Bend National Park. Drive with care.