I spent a lot of time over the last few days researching. Fortunately, government in Texas has made a great deal of information on their processes and rules available on the internet. My plot has shifted slightly; I am afraid my first idea, the reason for the conflict, was unrealistic. I must be sure the plot is plausible. Now I understand the landscape better and am moving forward. The final details will work themselves out (I hope!), and if a reader knows what is happening in Texas, they will take it for truth.
The final action scene in Enchanted Rock Blues took me two months to work out. I needed four characters to arrive at the same remote location in the park at the same time, but each with a different reason. I walked, and walked, and walked, and studied the landscape, until I knew the story. I probably spent forty hours walking that part of Enchanted Rock SNA until the story became clear. Perhaps I should make a trip to Fort Davis soon, and on the way there, make a detour through Reeves County.
Here is the closing of Chapter 14:
“He put on his uniform, the heavy gun belt, the radio, and his TPWD cap, and went out the door. The sun was low on the western horizon. Dust in the air turned the setting sun into a golden ball. He turned to the east and looked down the length of his little river valley. A cow turned towards him, munching on a mouthful of hay. The subtle colors of desert plants weren’t so subtle in the golden glow of the setting sun. Calm came over him. He knew he couldn’t sell this place and leave; this was where he belonged. He could leave with Miriam, perhaps, for a while, but his family had been planted here for three generations, and his roots were deep.
One day at a time.
As Delbert drove out of his ranch, E W watched from his perch on the rocky hill just south, across the dry river bed and up two hundred feet. Even at this distance, and through binoculars, E W could see from Delbert’s body language that he was satisfied with his place in the world. He needed to know who was in the red Jeep winding its way out to the highway. E W had never met an adversary he couldn’t charm, bully, or buy off. An idea came into his head, just a glimmer of an idea, a faintly visible flash, a barely formed thought, but that was all he needed. He knew that the idea would grow and form itself into a plan. Delbert was his. The ranch below, and the well, and the sweet water, would soon be his. E W glowed at the thought; his destiny was all but assured.”