The Brush Country of the Rio Grande
Paul Horgan wrote:
"Some of the largest cattle herds belong to the great companies operating where the nation's range cattle industry had its origin ---- along the Rio Grande between the Pecos and Mexico Bay. It was "the brasada," the brush country, stretching from the Nueces to the Rio Grande. It was profuse in growth ---- but almost all were thorned. It was either swept with gray dust borne on blistering winds or beaten by deluges that hissed as they struck the hot ground or raked by blizzards that came whistling out of the north. In the interlocking thickets that enclosed small clearings where grew curly mesquite grass, cattle could graze by thousands and hardly be seen by horsemen who sought them. There cicadas sang of the heat, and sharp-haired peccaries rooted among the thorns and blue quail rand amidst the wire shadows, and rattlesnakes sought the cool and were sometimes drummed to death by wild turkey gobblers at whose destroying wings they struck and struck with no effect on nerveless quill and feather. It was a land of hard secrets, the best kept of which was the location of water. Its few rivers ran in abruptly cut trenches walled with pink or yellow or slate blue limestone, and could not be seen except at their very brinks. In every direction the wilderness looked the same. There were no distant mountains to be seen. The land swelled away toward the white sky in slow rolls and shimmered in the heat that blended the ashen color of the ground with the olive greens of the brush until across the distance there seemed to hang a veil of dusky lilac."
----- Paul Horgan, Great River Vol. II, 1954. Incidentally, Horgan's two books about the Rio Grande are "must" reading for any fan of Texas history. They are not only lyrically written but incredibly informative. You could spend a summer reading them and you would be the better Texan for it.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.