coyote was back again. . . . Then as the night waned and the last quarter of the moon shone through the trees, the urge that was a thousand years old had its way, and her lineage set off on a new course.” Though occasionally melodramatic, this chapter does explore an interesting point: inbreeding can wipe out a species as effectively as not breeding at all. The long-term effect of wolves mating with more abundant coyotes is that soon no pure red wolves will be left. In spite of the fact that this history lacks dates and many of the events are fictional, I came away from The Land of Bears and Honey with the flavor of these Texas woods. The authors succeed in imparting a sense of the beauty and value of this threatened area. “Human lives are bound up in the recurrence of happenings. Spring after spring we see the same procession of flowers, the same pattern of life as trees leaf out and gardens grow. Each fall the same pageant of color unfolds and geese ride the north wind south. .. . It disturbs people when events do not recur; there is a suggestion of lost opportunity. . . . It would be easier if things gone could be blotted from memory; if, like the dinosaurs, they never existed in our world except as a sort of fantasy. Then no one would miss them; we would be satisfied with what we have. But we are set up to preserve pictures of the past, to remind ourselves how it was. So we are stuck with the knowledge that our forebearers let some things go.” Young forests, those cut for timber or carelessly burned and replanted, are not as suitable for animals \(fewer nooks older forests. And they have no history to tell. Much is already lost forever from this part of Texas that can be beautiful; but, if it is too late for the bears and honey, there is still time to protect the deer, the crabgrass, and the loblolly pines. Poems by Melvin Kenne South Texas Hills Stoic dreamers, high smooth foreheads lined in haze, they appear on some days to be lost in distraction. Other times, their gaze, that impossible weight of shadow, is the clearest indication of what you are to them. On the rare occasions when they appear to be looking at you directly, when there is no doubt about it, then suddenly .you want only to run and bury yourself deep in a valley, or to give yourself up to the endless kindness of sky drawn tautly over high, monotonous plains. Or you want to cry because you know now, are finally sure, that you will always be insignificant before them, and mean, and the first to look away. In The First World That world wasn’t always the same. Daddy whistled Redwing as we rode in the car, but it wasn’t anything like the singing I heard outside, of cottonfields sliding by along those smooth tracks of sound, or the wind through the mesquites, always dying. There was a ringing you had to listen for; it was there in that world much of the time, and I can still remember this certain light on some mornings so clear, you’d see things that weren’t even there starting to shine. I didn’t think to mention them then, though, they came so naturally into my mind. Like that song in the wind the angels sang, or one strange, silver tower, a fine apparition that appeared on a number of days to be hanging in the air, just on the edge of that long, barren horizon in my memory now looking as shiny and dreamlike and still, as if it might have been there forever. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Out back of the henhouse was the big mesquite and damp dirt at the edge of the field. A good place for playing hide and seek, or for watching the young birds learning how to fly. The furrows Daddy plowed ran right up to the grassy edge of the cracked henhouse wall, its warped, unpainted boards, I can see the nails pulling out of them now, and ants coming out of the nail holes: a crazy, rustcolored chain spilling down into the broken ground of insolvency. Melvin Kenne was raised on a farm near Refugio and is a recent winner of an Austin Book Award, given by the City of Austin. The poems on this page are taken from a collection, South Wind, to be published later this year. 21
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