If you drive north on Farm Road 4 in Palo Pinto County, Texas, you will pass through a buccolic valley nestled between heavily wooded and lush green hills. For those who think that West Texas is all flat, dry and treeless, this drive is a pleasant surprise. (Note: Amongst folks in these hills, there is a degree of regional pride that says this area is actually North Central, not West, Texas.)
Along FM 4, just south of Lone Camp, I took a detour onto Ward Mountain Road winding up to the top of one of those hills. On top of Ward Mountain, I came across a flock of llamas owned by Mr. Roland McCalla. Mr. McCalla bought his first llamas a few years ago, just because they were nice to have around. He named each llama, and he pointed out each one, telling me who is kin to whom, llama-wise. Mr. McCalla has done a lot of reading about llamas and their history. He said, “Llamas are descended from a South American god.” Ah… very good! I am heartily in favor of caring for any animal descended from a god. Perhaps that is where they get their intelligence. They are curious animals, always eager to meet a newcomer and not at all bashful about posing for photos. Too, they were most polite and refrained from spitting at me.