“Inward seeking is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everyday darkness of his own Life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair” ~ Walker Perry
There is a song, a music to my ears, the one in this video I had made, where throughout I can close my eyes and I feel the open road ahead, the endless open road. I was listening to it. I am posting it more for the Music than anything else. The tune is as it brings down the skies on me traveling through this tunnel which takes me to the past times when this land was wide open. For some reason it brings tears to my eyes and also a smile as being transported into those moment, the past ones, the ones “before”, when roads did not exist. Yesterday that road came to an end. Man mad cement barriers, high metal gates, it stopped us as the physical and mental possibility even remote to go on was null. I stood there for a long time, Life suddenly felt heavy in my thoughts while being also present near by all the dwellings now deserted. The border bridge at “La Linda”, not too far from here. Closed. Boarded up. Locked. The Earth, this beautiful Earth has been divided, sub-divided, compartmentalized. We have lost all our our freedom to roam. It is a thought throughout my travels I have been thinking about a lot. I do not get into the political aspect of it all as yet, countries and borders are nothing new going back centuries. I only look at it all as a Human factor, how sad it is we cannot even roam Mother Nature’s creation with the freedom that we deserve. Or do we?
I generally have a pretty good idea where the road will take us when we leave. Not at all time though. The only factor for me is where we will be at Sunset, the best time to photograph our surroundings, the best time to feel it all while all cools down. We all know “the Golden Hour”. When the canvas is almost at it’s completion for the day, when myself come to a halt, when the “IT” moment surfaces and all cares go away as the stage will turn and nighttime with it’s own Master will bring on yet another restful time. Again it was late leaving, but I had a pretty good idea how long it would take us to arrive to the Stillwell~La Linda area, just in time for the sun setting. I call it “the other side of Big Bend”. It’s geographical structure is different, it’s feel is different and again there is absolutely nothing as the Ranches and their endless fences have taken over. The little town of Stillwell was present, a little RV Park and a store makes it all up, but no one in sight and after a bit of shade on the swinging bench, on to the bridge we went for another 20 miles or so. A beautiful ride.
The tart up route took us through the Park, through the for ever present “other” gate, the one where one must show their credentials to enter what was once a free roaming Paradise. The Ranger remembered us, she probably remembered Spirit. This time however it must have been us as she asked me if I had finally become a Senior, in such instance of course I then showed her my “free for Life” access card. As always my heart is uplifted when entering those grounds. Life I feel is sacred amongst those horizons that make up this space I honor and love so much. I don’t need to know why. I can only accept the fondle of times present. I still cannot take away the words from a Photographer Friend of mine who said after a couple days in Big Bend “is that all there is?…”.
We stopped at the start of the path for “Dog Canyon”. I did not understand why it has such a name if dogs are not allowed. I think it is time for the dogs to rebel, to get together in unison and have a march with banners, loud speakers and all denouncing the absurdity of such etiquette or at least change the name of this canyon. I yet have to inquire about the legalities taking a service dog on those banned paths throughout the Park. On a leash of course and as a responsible owner (owner?) as I am. The sun was rapidly making it’s way, the coolness of the evening was rising, “Old Faithful” has been purring lately, she must like these familiar roads with at the present non existent traffic. Has to be the best time of the year to be here.
And then on the bridge. The structure, shut, but the Rio Grande running freely when we ourselves cannot, the homes which are now only vacant buildings, not a soul around, what looked like an old Mine rusting showing it’s redness under the last rays of the day. I sat there watching us from the past walking through, smiles on the faces, laughter, kids in tow and a few dollars meant for a lunch or a dinner of tacos today inexistent. A heavy heart while there. What is there to understand? What is there to say that has not yet been said over and over as now accepted with a present silence.
On to Marathon, darkness present, lucky to have all those headlights working at their best, the shadows of deer present on the side of the road was seemingly increased. A few neon lights, many vehicles parked at the “Cage Hotel”, they must be doing good. East then on to Alpine with the thought of food shopping, colder it was getting, all would preserve well for the one hour or so ride back. We however came back empty. Both food stores close at nine. Nine! I need to remember that. We hang out bit at the gas station listening to the College kids gathered blasting their music and screaming profanities at each other gesticulating in non describable manners. Hummm… so that is how it goes these days? definitely a couple generation gaps, but I did not think and do not think that my past Beatles and Rolling Stone era was as bad as I was witnessing. Maybe it is just a matter of opinion, it all pretty much left me speechless.
Today we have not left. It is hard often for me to leave “The Oasis”. Even for Friends that might be in the area I ask them to come here instead of meeting them. The mental comfort is here, nowhere else truly. It was time to grill some chicken, my first fire of the season, much pecan wood left still from last year, or was it this year? A bite of chicken, a bit of salsa, a bit of basmati rice… another good healthy dinner.
Be Safe and Well
Peace, Love, Courage
Ara & Spirit