Desert Mountain Times
Desert Mountain Times - People, Plants and Places of Desert Southwest

In hardscrabble Trans-Pecos, common decency replaces social minimalism

Tom Lea's 'The Lonesome Road'

Few artists have captured the depth of the Southwest imagery as the late Tom Lea of El Paso. One of his favorite scenes was the city’s Franklin Mountains, seen here, which is on display at the El Paso Museum of Arts.  (from Tom Lea Institute.)


By Dan Bodine


You embarking on anything? There’re some things different here, you’ll notice. Years ago early American settlers en route from say what is now San Antonio westward to El Paso sure noticed it.

A sharp change in scenery, for one, had set in once they’d reached the Pecos River. The terrain’d become hard–rocky, hilly-to-mountainous, and desert. This would later mark a geographical area known as the Trans Pecos or Upper Rio Grande.

It‟s where “hardscrabble” was coined, it’s often said now. Over the years, generally, life here tended to marginalize individual self-seeking. Continue reading