FORT DAVIS, Texas — Blue prairie. Blue are the skies. Blue are the sighs of a night wind callin'.
It was oh, so slightly melancholy, but still my kind of vacation: Lots of driving across dry land beautiful in its ruggedness, to the Davis Mountains of Far West Texas, 700 miles and 100-plus years, in the imagination, from home.
Soundtrack? Marty Robbins' “Gun Battle Ballads and Trail Songs,” from 1959, and The Sons of the Pioneers, “Cool Water,” also from 1959, procured for the trip at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop at Stockyard Station in Fort Worth. I fell in love with “Blue Prairie,” by The Sons.
Except for Interstate 35 south to Fort Worth, then H.E. Bailey Turnpike back, it was an all-Texas respite with my Texan wife. Even she thought I'd gotten perfect music for the long stretches of rough country from Abilene and Midland-Odessa and Pecos, for our few days around Fort Davis, Alpine and Marfa — then back through the nearly sere territory south of Fort Stockton and back up through San Angelo to Wichita Falls.
Right around Fort Davis, which is right at a mile high, it was laid back — and cool. The Davis Mountains are one of Texas best-kept summertime secrets. It actually showered on us a time or two.
We stayed in a cottage decorated with just the right kind of Chihuahuan Desert touches to make us feel comfortable — owned and operated by Wildflower Cottages, www.wildflowercottages.net/. We never laid eyes on proprietor Terri Webster; business was done by email and text message and electronic keys on old doors; but she was a jewel.
Lots of houses and cottages are for sale in Fort Texas — but they're not moving.
Blue prairie. Blue are the hills. Blue are the trills of a nightbird callin'.
According to my research (talking to a guy working the bar at the Hotel Limpia), they're priced comparably to properties around Austin. Well, Fort Davis is wonderful but Austin it's not.
He said he didn't think banks had many of them, if any. The owners apparently won't budge on their asking prices, so the places just sit because the owners, apparently, can afford to let 'em sit. It's sad. Fort Davis, as cool as it is, is drying up (so to speak, because drought persists) and could use some help.
Every beatin' heart beats a rhythm that is blue. And the moon has cast a blue reflection on the dew.
If the owners can afford to let their properties sit unsold, it looks to me like they could afford to come off prices some to get the properties moving.
But I don't know. I was just passing through and on vacation, not out to do real estate market research. But impressions matter. My impression is the prices I saw in a few brochures did seem as steep as Mount Livermore (8,382 feet).
So the wind while on its way, seems to cry and sigh and say: Blue, ooh, ooh ...