Palo Duro Creative: Blog en-us (C) Palo Duro Creative [email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:08:00 GMT Palo Duro Creative: Blog 80 120 I Heard the Horses Crying Colorful cliffs and hoodoo rocks in Palo Duro Canyon. Chaos and panic ensued at sunrise in Palo Duro Canyon on this date 142 years ago; September 28, 1874. Opposing cultures clashed in such devastation that it would mark the last major battle of the Red River War and the end of an era. It was the total ravaging of the southern Plains Indians, and the defeat of the fiercest Indians on the North American continent.

For months, the U.S. Cavalry pursued the Plains Indian tribes in a kind of cat-and-mouse jaunt across the Llano Estacado of the Texas Panhandle. It was an area labeled by the Spanish, who had been driven from it, as Comancheria. Within this area lies Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in North America. It is more than 120 miles long and as much as 20 miles wide with cliff walls leading to a base that is roughly 1,000 feet below the level plains of the surrounding Texas Panhandle. The Comanches knew the Canyon well and liked to camp there. It’s protection and provisions provided a safe haven for them for generations. With inlets, crevasses, caves, and scrub brush; it was almost impossible to find nomadic Comanches.

Palo Duro Canyon Palo Duro Canyon On September 28, 1874, Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Comanche Indians were camped alongside each other in an area stretched out about two miles long. U.S. Soldiers under the command of Civil War hero, Colonel Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, caught up with them, and the 400 troopers of the 4th U.S. Cavalry made their way down the steep sides of Tule Canyon. The Indians were caught by surprise. Commotion, fighting, and instant pandemonium set in. With no time to gather for a unified defense, Indians ran for the Canyon walls in an attempt to flee to the plains. Warriors gave cover to their women and children with pocket skirmishes here and there. Three Indians and one Cavalry trooper died that day. Ultimately, the soldiers captured and burned the Indian villages, gathering about 1,500 horses as they went. Col. Mackenzie ordered the horses slaughtered in order to keep them from falling back into the hands of the Indians. The dead horses made a massive pile of rotting horse flesh, and their bones bleached there for years.   

Part of the location in Palo Duro Canyon of the Kiowa camps on September 28, 1874. The loss of Palo Duro Canyon meant the loss of their safe place and their winter supplies. The last Plains Indian hold outs, Quanah Parker and his band of Quahadi Comanches, went to government reservations within a year of this battle due to the depletion of their food sources and the constant pursuit of the army.

I have spent many days in Palo Duro Canyon, visiting the Indian campsites and retracing the steps of the soldiers and Indians on that fateful day. More than a year ago, I was alone out there in the remote campground/battlefield area when lines to a poem poured into my mind and out onto paper. Here stands those words:


I Heard the Horses Crying


I heard the horses crying

Painted, steady, battle ready

Neighing and gnashing

Stomping and crashing



...But the Cavalry's bullets were their reply

Smoke, volley,

Humanity's folly

Warrior brothers fallen down

The thrust of sabers

Hostile neighbors

Shots tearing through the air



Bones crack

And stack


Spirits rise

Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Comanches fall


Palo Duro Canyon with a thunderstorm rolling in.



[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Battle of Palo Duro Canyon Cheyenne Comanche Comanche Nation Comancheria Indians Kiowa Llano Estacado Palo Duro Creative Palo, Duro, Canyon Plains Ranald Mackenzie Red River War Texas Texas Panhandle adventure grassbur photography Wed, 28 Sep 2016 23:10:32 GMT
Oklahoma Windmill: The Story Behind the Photo Two nights ago I found myself running through an Oklahoma prairie laughing in a race against the setting sun with my three kids scampering to catch up. I have enjoyed the pleasure of this situation many times before in various locations. It always gets me stoked and leads me to say, “Thanks, God!”

My family and I had just spent a few days in Breckenridge, Colorado with other family members for a late-summer fling, and we were headed back home to Amarillo. When I say “we” I mean the kids and I. That morning we dropped Piper off at the Denver Airport so she could catch a flight to Houston for robotic surgery training. I clicked “Home” as the destination on my Waze app as we left the airport, and we were off and running. I was surprised that it routed me through eastern Colorado instead of heading me through Colorado Springs. I quickly warmed up to the idea since I had never traveled out that way and I love seeing new places.

We made steady progress toward Texas, but we were not setting any land-speed records. I was loving seeing all of the beautiful farm country that I did not even know was out there. We stopped in Kit Carson, Colorado to walk the railroad tracks for a little while, just because we could. We felt great! We stopped at McDonald’s in Lamar, Colorado for dinner and their playscape. We felt nasty.

Thunderstorms had formed way off in the distance, and I was eyeing them with the thought of a sunset photo session in mind. My handy Weather Channel app told me the sunset would happen at 8:40 p.m., so I knew how much time I had to find a good landscape scene. I wanted something more than just crops and the sky. I was looking for some point of interest for the foreground of my photo to complement the beautiful sky and sunset in the background. I was searching for an old barn, a unique tree, a windmill, or anything along those lines that I could easily access from the road.

Sunset was quickly approaching and the storm clouds were growing closer as we thundered on through southern Colorado into the Oklahoma Panhandle. The relatively flat farmland gave way to breaks and bluffs in the landscape where water drains off into the Cimarron River headed eastward. The sunset rays played off the changing topography in magnificent combinations of shadows and light. My search for a good spot to take pictures became more intense as the sun sunk lower and lower. I had been praying for God to show me a good opportunity for a sunset photo session, but I began to wonder if it would happen. I was keeping a close eye on the clock, and at 8:30 (ten minutes before sunset) I decided to take the next turnoff I could find in an effort to at least snap a shot of the setting sun.

I implemented my plan, crossed over some railroad tracks, drove around a plateau that was blocking the sun, and then I saw it. From out of nowhere, in the middle of a scrub brush field stood a windmill and watering tank in front of the setting sun. I pulled off the road and grabbed my camera. Using a camera tripod is important in low light situations for camera stabilization and crisp photos. I went to get it but then realized that it was buried somewhere deep under our luggage. I had to run as the sun was sinking fast and my opportunity was fleeting. I was kicking myself for not planning better by having my tripod handy, but I knew I had to make do with what I had. 

I quickly found a cattle trail leading straight for the windmill and took off in that direction. With the kids running behind me, I yelled out, “WATCH FOR SNAKES AND CACTUS!” The thrill of the hunt set in, and as I realized that God had provided me a fun sunset photo opportunity; I laughed out loud. I was running and thanking God. God has done this before. When I ask Him for help finding good shots, the vast majority of the time He comes through with something unique and unexpected. This exact scenario of running to catch a sunset scene that God provided in the nick of time has played out more than a handful of times, and I think He does it just to make me laugh. 


My enthusiasm and gratitude for that moment was transferred to the kids, and they let out war whoops that tickled the ears of all animals within a half a mile. We had a big time out there taking pictures, monitoring a red ant bed, throwing rocks, and observing the plants and creatures found in the windmill water tank. 

Ellison, Paxton, and London had a big time playing on the prairie.

I want to thank God for being a faithful partner in the adventures of life and landscape photography. 

- Landry

[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Oklahoma Palo Duro Creative adventure photography sunset windmill Sun, 14 Aug 2016 03:51:09 GMT
Grand Adventures and Hard Lessons It was a glorious May Friday in Amarillo, Texas, and it just happened to also be the last day of school for our young children. You know the scene: The excitement, the last day of school pictures, the farewells to friends, and that coveted early release from the building that had held them back from a world of fun for the past nine months. Our rental van was loaded down and ready to roll when Piper got off work. Fifteen hours of driving and one hotel stay in Cheyenne later, we made it to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was a fabulous start to an epic family adventure in and around Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. 

We stayed in a cabin in Coulter Bay Village on Saturday night, and drove straight to Old Faithful first thing the next morning. Our timing was such that we landed in the parking lot just minutes before the next estimated spewing of Old Faithful. In the spirit of discovery, we all ran from the parking lot to the viewing area in an attempt to get there in time to see in real life what we all had previously only seen in videos. We laughed at ourselves as we ran in a hurried quest to get there on time. We made it and loved it, and then proceeded to spend the next few days taking in vistas and wildlife that exceeded our expectations in America’s first and foremost National Park. 

Old Faithful. There were other stories along the way, but I want to skip to the time when the fun of our trip came to a screeching halt. The context of this story started on an afternoon backroad jaunt near Slough Creek in the famous Lamar Valley. We went there in hopes of spotting wolves. That never happened, but we did find a hiking trail to tackle. In the parking lot at the trailhead, Paxton got out and did what comes natural to ten-year-old boys; he started throwing rocks. Piper and I quickly jumped his case – not because he was throwing rocks, but because he was obviously not paying attention to other vehicles that were parked beyond the water puddles for which he was aiming. We gave him a good speech about looking around and thinking about what could happen before launching off and throwing rocks. We went on with our hike and our night, and all was well. 

Paxton hanging out somewhere near Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.

The next morning was the start of our last full day before heading home to Texas. The plan was to spend some time in Grand Teton National Park and end up in Jackson for food and fun. One of our first stops that morning was Mormon Row to capture photos of the historic Moulton Barns with the Teton Range in the background. We stopped first at the T. A. Moulton barn; which is claimed to be the most photographed barn in America. We did our part to keep that claim to fame going, and had a lot of fun scoping out the place. We then headed over to the John Moulton barn just up the road for a quick stop to snap some shots there. This was going to be a five minute or less stop. Piper and the girls did not even get out of the van to come take photographs. 

T. A. Moulton BarnThis is the most photographed barn in America. It is found within Grand Tetons National Park. The John Moulton Barn

Paxton got out of the van with me. I proceeded to the barn about 200 yards away, enjoying the views. I took time out to take a photo of a family so they could all be in the picture, and then I snapped off two of my own photos of the barn. That’s when it happened. That’s when I noticed Piper coming at me hot under the collar with a look that told me something had just gone way wrong.

Paxton had been throwing rocks in the parking lot. In one fateful throw his rock hit the desired target but then ricocheted off and straight through the back glass of a 2016 Acadia SUV. The glass shattered in terrific fashion. The vacations of two families were instantly turned upside down. The man driving the Acadia was, understandably, very upset. I was thinking thoughts such as, “We’re in the middle of a National Park, how will we even fix this?” and “I cannot believe that we just talked about this kind of thing yesterday with Paxton and the very next morning he shatters someone’s window!”

Thankfully, there was actually a fairly quick solution. The Acadia was a rental car, and we followed the family to the Jackson Hole airport where they swapped out that vehicle for a new one. Unfortunately, it was a costly mistake.

I was so angry with Paxton and the situation that I did not say a whole lot from the time it happened until after going to the airport. Paxton was upset and scared already, and I knew that if I said what was on my mind in the heat of the moment it would not be good. It was such a tense time. On the drive to the airport, I was silently praying for wisdom about how to handle this situation and what to say to Paxton. When we left the airport, we drove in silence for another ten or so minutes until I stopped at a scenic pull-out on the road. Piper and I told the girls we needed to speak with Paxton and made them get out of the van, much to their chagrin. We told Paxton we were disappointed in his actions and we talked about what we hoped he learned from all of this. One of the handful of lessons we hoped he had learned was that our actions have consequences, even if we didn’t mean to cause harm. I explained to Paxton that his actions negatively affected the vacations of our family and another family and that there was also a financial cost associated with his mistake. We told him that our expectation was that he would work for us around the house in order to earn money to pay for the replacement of the broken window. He withstood all of our talking and the outlining of consequences with a lot of respect and understanding.

All of that information was just so that I could get to this part, the part about the lesson I learned – the part that I really wanted to tell you about. What got me, was my reaction when talking to Paxton. I cried. I couldn’t help it. I knew that Paxton had not been trying to break someone’s car window on purpose, yet he had disobeyed and he had cost our family time, frustration, and a chunk of money. There had to be consequences. He had to make things right. I hated it for him. I hated that we had to be the enforcers of his punishment. That’s when it all hit me. That’s when I realized that, that is how God feels towards all of us, His kids, when we disobey and mess things up. Yes, He’s frustrated with us, but more than that He just hates that we’ve put ourselves in a bad spot and must suffer the consequences. It was a different view of God’s love, grace, and commandments that I had never before understood.


The rest of the story…

We agreed to go on and not let this ruin the rest of our vacation – we would deal with those consequences later when we got back home. I nearly cried again a couple of hours later when we were walking around the town of Jackson and Paxton reached up and took me by the hand. 

Paxton power washing the fence in preparation to stain it.

Paxton has taken his consequences like a man. His primary project has been to help power wash and stain our fence. It has been a task that has taken much more effort and time than either one of us anticipated.

As Paxton’s dad, I’ve been right there with him with the power washing and staining. I didn’t leave him alone to complete those tasks all on his own. I wanted to help him through it. I wanted to give him companionship and share in the hard work. God does that for us, too. In the midst of suffering our own consequences for our actions, as well as the general hard times this life brings, God says in the Bible that He will always stick with us and help us through those tough times.1,2,3,4

As I reflected on this experience with Paxton and the idea of a kid making things right with his dad, I realized that there is a larger debt that we all owe our Heavenly Father that we are absolutely unable to pay. Our sin has separated us from God, but God provided the payment of our sin through his Son, Jesus. For a more detailed explanation of this, click here. In that transaction, Jesus paid it all. It is His free gift to us.5 It is where true freedom and redemption happen.

Through the early morning starts and the heat of this Texas summer sun, Paxton is no worse for the wear. He still loves to throw rocks, but we have noticed he sure knows what is around him before letting one fly.  



1 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

2 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

3 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

4 “…fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” – Isaiah 41:10-13

5 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Consequences Grand Teton National Park Palo Duro Creative Yellowstone National Park lessons learned Fri, 22 Jul 2016 14:26:53 GMT
Lost, But Not Lost I stepped outside this morning into an unusually humid and dense environment. I felt separated from the world as common landmarks were enveloped by a thick fog. The heavy, gray atmosphere that made it hard to see was a good match for the mood of my soul.

Have you ever held a toddler who was kicking and throwing a fit? It isn’t fun, and it isn’t pretty. When I have done that, I’ve often smiled at God and thanked him for making adults so much bigger and stronger than kids. Children sometimes get emotionally wrecked and start flailing at a person who is about four times their size and is only trying to help them. If I’m honest with you, over the past week or so, I feel like I’ve been spiritually kicking at God. It makes no sense and I cannot give a good reason why, but I have felt like I have been wrestling with God.

That inner tension is one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Palo Duro Canyon today. When I am alone outdoors, that is when I feel closest to God. There is biblical precedent for that – Jesus often went to the wilderness himself and would also take disciples with him.1,2,3 As I was driving into the Canyon, I asked God to meet with me out there and speak some truth into my life.

Early morning fog in Palo Duro Canyon.

I was also on a specific history-related mission. A Texas historian friend of mine had given me a rough sketch of the location of the Comanche Indian camp on September 28, 1874, when Colonel Ranald Mackenzie and his men came into the Canyon and attacked them. On that day, Comanches, Kiowas, and Cheyennes were all camped near one another and fled for their lives in all directions. The Comanche camp was located near Tub Springs Draw, and many Comanches ran up the draw in an effort to scale the Canyon walls and escape. I wanted to visit the campsite and get a first-hand look at the battleground and the path of the Comanche’s retreat.

Tub Springs Draw in Palo Duro Canyon I made my way to Tub Springs Draw, and started hiking the dry creek riverbed without a hitch. Although some of the vegetation has changed in Palo Duro Canyon, it is amazing to see and experience the same land formations that the Indians, Cavalry, and pioneers did. The history buff in me was completely caught-up in the moment as I retraced the steps of Comanche’s of all ages who had lived on and loved that land for so many years and who found themselves in a panic on that fateful day.

One turn around a bend in the Canyon led to another one. The creek bed made a nice trail through the brush, and hiking was easy. Something about experiencing landscapes that I have never seen before makes me want to keep on going. The historic nature of the path I was on added to the mystery and drew me in. The dry creek turned into a running brook, and that only complimented the beauty of the whole situation. I forged on, taking it all in.

The creek seemed to keep on turning to the right, so I got it in my mind that I would eventually come out somewhere on the other side of the Comanche camp. The Canyon walls closed in tighter and became hundreds of feet taller. I did not know exactly where I was headed. I felt certain that the Canyon walls would open up somewhere down the line, and I could easily hop back on the main trail. Step after step, I just went deeper and deeper into the Canyon abyss. When turn after turn did not yield a good opening in the Canyon walls, I thought about retracing my steps to get back out. …But who wants to do that? I didn’t want to see what I had just passed. I wanted new vistas, new discoveries. I was getting tired and hungry, so I climbed the Canyon wall looking for a place to get on top of it. In the area where I was, the last 20 to 30 feet of Canyon wall was a sheer cliff. I hiked on close to the top in search of any opportunity to get on top.

A couple of hours in, it happened. I turned a corner and realized that the two Canyon walls on either side of the creek joined together and formed a dead end. The cliff walls made it impossible to get on top, and I laughed at my situation. I was in a mess. Hiking the side of the Canyon was dangerous with loose rocks and a steep grade. Hiking the bottom of the Canyon was maddening, with huge boulders, thick brush, and cactus to bind me up. I sat down in some shade to think it over, and made a lunch out of water and a sleeve of Planters peanuts. I was so glad that I had packed in more water than I ever thought I would use.

I decided on going back along the side of the Canyon with an eye out for any passage to the top. I had some quality thinking time out there during all of this. I didn’t hear God audibly, but I felt like He was putting these words on my heart, “Landry, this is an analogy of your spiritual life right now. You’ve taken your eyes off of me, and you’re just charging on down the road. You don’t have a map. You don’t have a plan. You’re trying to make things happen on your own. You are seeking pleasure and security in other things. You’re frustrated because your best efforts apart from me only get you more tangled-up, put you in danger, and lead to dead ends.” 4,5,6 I thought a lot about all of that, and God and I spent some good time together.

Eventually, there was an opportunity for me to climb to the top of the Canyon for a better view. The perspective was fantastic and daunting at the same time. I could see clearly exactly where I was in relation to where I wanted to be and where I needed to go, but my truck was so very far away. I slowly made my way back down the Canyon wall and back to where I had started. I retraced my steps and plenty more by the time my adventure was over. The analogy held true to the end, as I thought about the restorative nature of God and how He’s always willing to guide us back home if we will only turn to Him. 7,8,9

A view from the Canyon rim looking down on Tub Springs Draw and the location of the old Comanche campsite (left of Tub Springs Draw in the photo).

1 “But he (Jesus) would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” – Luke 5:16

2 “In these days he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” - Luke 6:12-13

3 “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” - Matthew 14:23

4 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5

5 “Be appalled, O heavens, at this: be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” - Jeremiah 2:12-13

6 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

7 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

8 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

9 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Palo Duro Canyon Texas adventure Fri, 11 Mar 2016 07:20:49 GMT
Candlelight Christmas on the Brazos The home of Anson Jones, last President of the Republic of Texas, located at the Barrington Living History Farm on the Washington-On-The-Brazos State Historic Site. Christmas in Texas in the 1800’s generated scenes of horseback travelers and wagons loaded with friends and family gathering to celebrate. Christmas get-togethers of yesteryear had many of the same experiences and traditions that we treasure today. Some of those Christmas components would look very different to us. Christmas Revelers of yesteryear would dine on food they raised or killed, exchange handmade gifts, and dance with one another. Their Christmas trees were often juniper bushes adorned with handmade ornaments and candles. When trying to imagine Christmas on the prairie back in the old West, a great place to start is at the “Birthplace of Texas.”


The “Birthplace of Texas” is located along the Brazos River at Washington-On-The-Brazos, a scenic 40 minute drive south from College Station or 20 minutes from Brenham. This former settlement turned State Historic Site was host to the Texas Convention of 1836, where 59 Texas delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. The State Historic Site now features three main attractions: Independence Hall (a replica of the building where the Texas Declaration was signed in 1836, located on the original site), the Barrington Living History Farm (home of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas), and the Star of the Republic Museum.


Every December, there is a one-day opportunity to step back in time at the Barrington Living History Farm to see what Christmas was like in Texas in the 19th Century. A candlelight tour of Anson and Mary Jones’ home and surrounding farm facilities makes Christmas history come to life; complete with reenactments, music, dancing, bonfires, Christmas readings, and an 1850’s Santa Claus. This typically takes place around the second weekend in December, but click here to access a site calendar. 

Candlelight Christmas at Washington-On-The-Brazos allows visitors to do a little Texas time traveling and become Christmas guests of Republic of Texas President, Anson Jones, and his wife Mary Jones.

A reenactment of Anson and Mary Jones lighting candles on a Christmas tree inside the historic Jones home. It is one thing to read about Christmas in times gone by, it is quite another to immerse yourself in a long-ago time period with sights, smells, buildings, reenactments, and readings that carry you to a different place and time.


Here are some tips to ensure that you and your family have a merry time when you go:

  • Dress warm and wear comfortable shoes. This is a walking tour, and some of the sites are about 100 yards apart.
  • The tour takes a good hour to complete. Groups of visitors leave in intervals. It is recommended that you call ahead of time and reserve a time-slot for your family or group.
  • Enjoy cookies and hot cider at the Barrington Farm check-in facility.
  • Take your camera. This event happens at night, so pack a tripod to steady your camera for low-light shots.
  • Take some friends. This is a memory-maker and a wonderful holiday event to share with friends and family. It would also make an outstanding creative date.
  • After your tour, enjoy a great meal right around the corner at R Place restaurant.
  • Don’t let cold weather discourage you from going! Even in the coldest weather, this event is a classic and well worth it. My family and I participated in this a couple of years ago when the wind was up and temperatures were down. We almost did not go because of this; however, we were all so glad that we went. We bundled up and had a super time. Thinking about the pioneers living through those conditions on a regular basis made us all pause to think about the perilous times of our ancestors and prompted us to give thanks for our modern comforts. 

Time-period actors revive the traditions, sights, and smells of Christmas in Texas in the 1850’s at Washington-On-The-Brazos’ Candlelight Christmas. For more information on the Candlelight Christmas celebration, check out these helpful Websites:


[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Barrington Living History Farm Candlelight Christmas State Historic Site Texas Washington-On-The-Brazos Tue, 22 Dec 2015 21:38:07 GMT
Too Much With This World. Scenes like this fascinate me. Once functional places, left to rot. The effects of time and weather on full display. The unstoppable forces of nature slowly but surely reclaiming minerals, elements, and territory. 

I discovered this abandoned office at a deserted grain elevator in rural Castro County, Texas. As I ventured through the dilapidated structures, questions started filling my mind. I began to wonder about what was, all the work and the life that took place on this site. I thought about how things looked when the structures and furniture were new, functional, and productive. I thought about the workers, farmers, and families who once made this place an important part of their lives. What happened to the operators who put in many hours weighing and storing grain? What are the stories of the farmers who diligently tended the land to produce the grain and the families who depended on this place as a means of life?


As I stepped inside this forgotten world, the desk immediately grabbed my attention. It is anchored to the ground like a barricade against a door leading to the “free” world. The thought ran through my head of this scene being an analogy of work and the demands of life holding us captive from endless opportunities. At the cusp of our careers, we often look a job offering a nice salary and impressive social status as the solution to our problems and the answer to our heart’s desire; only to come to a point down the line where the consuming nature of that job mandates that many of our true heart’s longings are placed on a shelf for some other time and place. And then it struck me that this analogy is much more literal and personal than I first realized. 

There is nothing wrong with an honest job and someone doing whatever it takes to provide for their family. Unfortunately, in our culture our work-life all too often, subtly consumes us. It takes us away from the people and places we love. There was a long stretch of years where my time experiencing nature was relegated to moments on holidays, vacations, and non-working weekends. I came to a point where my heart ached as I realized that William Wordsworth’s words from this sonnet resonated with me:  


The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 


That was my situation, and Wordsworth’s description of being consumed by the cares of this world told the story of me going from a “busy season in life” to a consistent lifestyle of stress, hurry, and endless striving.1 I appreciate this new season in life were I can get outside more, discover desolate grain elevators, and experience Creation.2


How about you? Is the world too much with you? What are you doing about that?  - Landry



1 Mark 8:36 ~  "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

 2Romans 12:2 ~ "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Palo Duro Creative Texas The World is Too Much With Us William Wordsworth adventure agriculture grain elevator photography Thu, 10 Dec 2015 22:32:02 GMT
The Grassbur Attitude.


The grassbur is an unlikely fellow for a positive attitude analogy. Grassbur is the common name for several grasses which produce burs with multiple sharp spines. Grassburs are hardy and often thrive in rugged environments. Their primary mode of dispersal is through their sharp burs traveling on animals, people, or in the wind. The bur itself is a type of capsule which usually contains one to three seeds. So where am I going with this?

Let’s think about a couple of different viewpoints when it comes to grassburs. There is the grassbur’s strategy: they are opportunistic in sticking to anyone or anything and spreading themselves around. There is also the perspective of anyone who gets tangled up in a patch of grassburs: grassburs are a common and often painful part of many excursions.

My grassbur attitude is made up of a couple of foundational tenants. I desire to be purposeful in grabbing hold of everyone with whom I come in contact and seek to spread seeds of faith, hope, and love.1 I also understand that finding the photographic scenes that are most rewarding, often requires handling setbacks and irritations along the way, and the attitude with which I choose to handle those situations is completely up to me.

Check out these exhorting words from an old poet:

“Life is before you! from the fated road

You cannot turn; then take ye up the load,

Not yours to tread or leave the unknown way,

Ye must go o’er it, meet ye what ye may.

Gird up your souls within you to the deed,

Angels and fellow-spirits bid you speed!”

                                                                                                - Butler

This is it! This is life and we are living it. Butler’s “unknown way” is full of both happiness and sadness, gain and loss, beauty and thorns. All the elements that make up the human experience are found on life’s journey. We can try to play it safe and not be too reckless, not travel too far—try to avoid any grassburs. Or we can run with an adventurous abandon down life’s path; embracing the joy, peace, and trouble that meets us there.

The grassbur attitude says, “Yes there will be pain but there will also be joy in the journey and important work to do along the way, and the joy and meaningful work make the whole thing worth it.” 2 We choose our attitude. 3 We decide on which elements of life we will place our energy and focus. We determine, to a great degree, how our life will go. I appreciate the wisdom and words of Pastor Charles Swindoll:

“I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”

The grassbur attitude affects my outlook and artwork because it is the filter with which I view the world and everything in it. The grassbur makes a good logo for Palo Duro Creative as the grassbur attitude holds true in my life and for Palo Duro Creative.

Join me, and let’s live in discovery.  ~ Landry


1 1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

2 Romans 8:28 ~ “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

3 Psalm 34:1 ~ “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”


[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Palo Duro Creative Texas attitude grassbur Thu, 03 Dec 2015 20:00:31 GMT
Why The Grassbur?

Grassburs. sandburs, goatheads, stickers – whatever you call them, we all know them, and we all hate them …but do we actually love them? We love the places they are found and the resilience for which they stand. Once the pain is gone, we love the memories of the places we were and the people we were with when we got into a mess of them.

Somewhere deep down inside us, something is stirred when we come across grassburs. They are tangible evidence that, either we are outside, or we have been outside. Our inner spirit is then ignited and intrigued because, in this modern world of asphalt and attitudes, we long for something real. We remember the freedom of our youth when we would charge headlong into the woods with reckless abandon. We desire to shuck the consuming ways of this world and get back in touch with nature. We yearn to leave the safety of the every-day to go adventuring. Just as beautiful roses have thorns, the best adventures have grassburs.

This, I know from experience…

One mild, January afternoon I took my girls for a dental check-up and afterward decided to drive north instead of driving home. The sunny day and the cleared afternoon calendar gave a perfect opportunity for adventuring. We drove down Texas Panhandle dirt roads none of us had been on before and made multiple stops to discover new sights. We retraced the tracks of buffalo hunters and Comanche warriors and landed on the site of the Second Battle of Adobe Walls. Tall grasses and historical markers met us at the tucked-away site. While we were out there taking in the landscape and trying to imagine what it must have been like on that fateful day in June of 1874, both of my girls managed to get into grassburs. London had a good cry and I had to pull a couple of them out of Ellison’s hair. The tears and hassle were worth it. The grassburs were a visceral reminder that we were out there. – outside, in the thick of it; dealing with all that comes with outdoor adventuring because reading about these sights and keeping close to home simply will not do. 

Our outdoor romp triggered the idea for this logo.1 It is a grassbur inflorescence and stem. Take a second look at the logo, and you will also notice that the topography of the land surrounding Palo Duro Creative’s headquarters is made up of deep canyons carved by rivers and their tributaries as they wind through this portion of the Texas Panhandle. The Palo Duro Creative grassbur logo symbolizes adventure and resilience. It resonates an attitude that says, “Let’s pull the grassbur out of your hair, and get on with having fun.” That’s life. That’s Palo Duro Creative.


1 Special thanks to Amanda Scarborough with Scarborough Specialties ( for taking my logo ideas and turning them into a professional work of art.

[email protected] (Palo Duro Creative) Palo Duro Creative Texas adventure grassbur grassburs photography Thu, 03 Dec 2015 05:12:26 GMT