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Book Excerpt: Shaffer Bend Recreation Area – LCRA Park, Marble Falls, TX

We follow the dusty, white caliche toward water downshifting along the way, driving slowly through the bends and curves of the road. The descents and climbs. A white tail deer looks up as we drive past. Watching - then lowers his head to continue eating. Mistaking one turn for another, I enter the wrong campsite. One way too tight for trailers. The oaks and pecans hold their ground, strong with a low canopy of intertwined branches which I try carefully to avoid while backing my way out and all the while the lake waits patiently.

Eventually, we find our spot – where we were meant to be - and ride along Lakeview trail. The dog follows behind, in front and then aside - sliding down to the water and then scrambling back up again. Shaking off the excess. A small craft motors past, its wake brushing the shore like the gentle touch of a lover then fading into stillness. The river runs narrow here, a short stretch connecting Lake Travis and Lake Marble Falls, and there are kids swimming and playing on the other side. Diving for fish and splashing as kids do.

Five miles of riding feels like more as we walk the interior Equine trail to a steep hill where I let the horse gather his

momentum and run up. The shade is supple here and the forest thick. A hummingbird nest hangs low on a branch and I peek inside at new life unfolding. Stealing a glance at such a small intimate world invisible to the casual observer. The very sunshine of life. We travel on and the trail spills onto lakeshore and there I halt the horse and sit, letting him graze for a moment on switchgrass and grama. The faint sound of an engine drifting across the lake.

There must be some profound moment here, or so you would think. But there is only being. The soaking of it in and letting it move through you like blood in your veins. Reflections spilling over from fluid surface, along aging skin and seeping in. Warming you from the inside out. Anchoring you to this moment forever.

Or until tomorrow at least.


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