Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Imagine, thousands of years ago, nomadic bands of early Native Americans as they wandered hundred of miles across the wide expanse of present day West and Central Texas. During the summer, the dry desert landscape and searing heat parched not only the land, but also the human inhabitants. As they trudged along, weary but uncomplaining, they saw in the distance patches of green, and clumps of small, wide-spreading green trees, and tall, thick grasses. Birds flew up and away from the oasis, and small animals, deer, antelope, and jackrabbits stood and ate, or ran away to hide from the others.
The ancient people had ventured upon a deep pool of clean, cold water, bubbling up between the fissures and cracks in the rocky ledges and escarpments. In their primitive minds, they understood the significance and importance of this life-giving, life-saving wonder—water. The band had been among the first to discover the artesian springs in the Big Bend area of Texas. In the mid-1800’s, white settlers named them Mescalero Springs after the Mescalero Apache who lived in the area.
In 1906, state park officials renamed them San Soloman Springs, and the area became Balmorhea State Park, located on Interstate 10. Today, visitors camp and swim in the huge walled swimming pool fed by the springs. With a 62,000-square-foot surface, the pool is one of the largest man-made pools in the U.S. Today, the springs provide irrigation for surrounding farmers—Americans and Mexicans.
In 1709, Spanish explorers settled on the banks of a crystal clear pool of water in Central Texas. Unknown to them, two hundred springs burst forth from three large fissures and many small openings, formed millions of years ago by an earthquake. The priest built a small stone mission on the hill behind the spring lake. They named the settlement and mission San Marcos de Neve.
The water from the springs have been dammed, creating two spillways from the massive amount of ancient water, forming the headwaters of the San Marcos River in the center of town. Local university archeologists and visiting teams have excavated many artifacts from the bottom of Spring Lake. Among the bubbling sand, which resembles Cream of Wheat boiling in a pan, the scientists discovered and preserved ancient arrowheads, Spanish coins, shards of pottery, and various other invaluable pieces of history.
Other artesian springs dot the Texas West. Comanche Springs provide water in the Davis Mountains. Barton Springs, in Austin, form a huge pool, immensely popular with residents and visitors. Rock Springs, west of San Antonio, served ranchers and Native Americans. Comal Springs in New Braunfels, boasts the largest concentration of naturally occurring fresh water springs in Texas.
In my Western Historical Romance novels, I often use springs as focal points. In TEXAS PROMISE, the hero, Dalton King, lives in isolation for four months on the banks of fresh-water springs in the far reaches of Texas. I envisioned the San Soloman Springs for the story, those earlier named Mescalero Springs. The idea was a natural one, because the Mescalero Apache rescues Dalton and tells him about the healing waters.
In ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS, I named fictional springs Rico Springs, again using artesian water in the western part of the state.
PAINTED ROCK CANYON is merely a novel-in-progress, but again, I used a fresh-water spring area for my hero and heroine’s first kiss.

A routine was set after Dalton built his shelter. Each day at dawn, he shed every piece of clothing and walked naked into the water. He faced east, as Ortiz had taught him. It was a sacred direction where the life-giving sun rose and promised newness to the world and mankind. Then he stretched out on flat rocks and sunbathed for an hour or longer, first his front, then his back. The minerals and the heat healed his broken body and spirit. He rinsed his few clothes and dried them on the rocks. Occasionally, he shaved his face without a mirror because he didn’t have one. He didn’t want to see his scarred face anyway.

“This is Rico Springs,” Ricardo said into the silence, and he swept one arm toward the sound of the water.
“I thought the town had that name.”
“It does, but it’s named for these springs. Actually, there are numerous ones around. It just so happens that these are the biggest and the best. And they’re on our land.”
Cynthia noted the pride in his voice. She turned from him and walked a few steps to peer down at the springs. Water bubbled up from the earth and formed a clear pool, which looked deep and wide. Flat rocks and boulders protruded around the edges, forming a series of places where one might sit and gaze at the water.
“Is it deep?” Cynthia asked as she looked down.
“Not really. Maybe twenty feet or so. Around the edges, the water is shallow, and it’s forever changing just as the deep part is.”
“It looks a little frightening,” she commented and turned to look at him.
“Not if you can swim.”
She crossed her arms around her waist. “Well, I don’t swim,” she said, and looked at him as if she thought he could magically change the situation.

Hellfire, what had he gotten himself into? The first thing he had to do was keep his wits about him, and to do that, it might be a good idea to stop gazing at her luscious body, and pay attention to the surrounding area.
Most of it looked like the desert, with all the scrub brush, broomtail grass, and cactus of every sort. The area was in far West Texas, just over the Pecos River, land good for running cattle, since it had some grass and was near the river.
He saw the watering hole ahead, marked by lush, green grass and a few desert willows. Probably it was a prime spot for riders and wranglers as they made their way across the otherwise barren ground. A cool drink of water would be right nice, but food would be even better. In fact, he thought he might starve to death before they reached her ranch.
Jude reined in behind her and dismounted.
She slid off the saddle in one easy move, and threw her hat off so that it hung by the cord down her back. Dropping to her knees at the edge of the springs, she splashed water on her face, and ran her wet hand around the back of her neck. He did the same, and wet his red bandanna so he could wipe his face, neck, and hands. It was the first clean water he’d seen in four days.

Thank you for reading. Celia Yeary


Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Celia, that picture sure is inviting! Thanks for the great info. And I super-enjoyed your excerpts.


Anne Carrole said...

Looks beautiful Celia and your description really brings it to life. Love how you've incorporated the springs into your books!

Aithne said...

Beautiful post, Celia. I love the way you've worked the life giving springs into your stories. Guess we're both drawn to water. ;o)


Tanya Hanson said...

Celia, I forgot this before. I loved your online read, The Wedding Auction. Very well done!! Lots of humor and Mary Etta was a great feisty character.


Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Celia,
Lovely post and special because I've been to San Soloman and Commanche Springs. Man, the water at Balmorhea is cooollllddd and it has little fishes in it.
Comanche Springs is pretty much dried up. Such a shame.
A Law of Her Own

Loretta said...

You've come up with an interesting and enticing idea for incorporating water scenery into your books. The picture is postcard beautiful. Interesting post, Celia.


Bailey Wu Xiang said...

Water is so basic and sacred. You'd think we'd have more respect for it in Amerika. As an old Polar Bear, I lived close by to Barton Springs in Austin, then the San Marcos River and now San Solomon Springs in Balmorhea. You should check-out this archaelogical place with western religious significance, particularly Essenic baptism (as in Jesus of Nazereth and John the Baptist)

Thanks so much for the refreshing drink you provided at your watering hole today.


Celia Yeary said...

Bailey Wu Xiang or Cliff Hammond? Wow, so close, you've been, and so knowledgable. where did you come from? i mean to find this blog? I thank you so much for your comments--I know all these places, well, too, even though--yes, it's true, I don't swim! Don't ask me why--but I absolutely love the water. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

TANYA--thanks for reading my FREE READ. Aren't these fun to write? It's the sort of thing that just writes itself or it doesn't appear.In truth, I'd like to write this sort of thing all the time--novels can wear a boyd out. At Christmas, I'll have MERRY CHRISTMAS, VICTORIA. Later--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--oh, a girl after my own heart. don't you love San Soloman Springs? It's almost unbelievable, isn't it? Thanks--Celia

Paty Jager said...

Great information. Wonderful excerpts.

Lauri said...

Can't you just imagine the joy of coming across this beautiful site after riding for hours in hot Texas heat? Wonderful information!

Chiron said...

What a fabulous post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Your description of the Artesian Springs drew me in.

And the excerpts are fantastic!! *wild applause* Love how you wove the history in so seamlessly.

Thanks for a great read...


Celia Yeary said...

Hey, Chiron--glad you found our blog--thanks for taking the time.I love to write these short pieces--it's called blogging, you know, but to me, it's story-telling. See ya! Celia