“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross ~
The last morning here at The Oasis and looking East, still a faint glow, the rising sun welcomes me from behind Nine Points topped by a crescent Moon and it’s star keeping vigil throughout his own passage on this upcoming day. Such a morning is always filled with a physical and mental anticipation. The picture painted is soothing, yet, it still questions the decision taken years ago embracing this life not anymore unusual for us, but I know is for many seeing and thinking of this path greener than the one they are on. As everything else, it has its moments.
There are no regrets. One day at the time I have signed off the lessons served and turned them in to my teachers, my mistresses, Mother Nature and Life. Straight A’s sometimes, C minus other times while trying harder is the only option facing me. I have never been suspended for those low marks, I have never thought about skipping classes. The yearly graduation is too appealing and fulfilling to do so. I have never been a quitter.
A few miles are behind us and I am already wondering if it is only me seeing "things" on the road or has the months spent behind a keyboard has affected me in strange ways. I just passed a billboard advertising for a bakery. The photo of a child walking away, his head is turned with two cinnamon rolls painted on the rear of his diapers which is all what he is wearing… "Hottest buns in town" it said. Another one claiming wanting to buy your used car "We like nice curves and big headlights". A restaurant was advertising "Even our Potty’s are easy on easy off". You can draw your own conclusions. I don’t really know what to say. Has there been that many changes?
More than ever, this time around headed East, I am noticing the decay of small towns. It started in Marathon continuing through Dresden, Sanderson and even Del Rio. So many dwellings are now skeletons with only their beams and a few two by fours standing up roofless while the trash is piling all around as a race with the weeds also getting taller. Most businesses have the "CLOSED" sign, not even a "FOR SALE" one. Side by side in long rows with shattered storefront windows even the sidewalks are now cracked and falling apart, their pieces scattered in the driving lanes. Old trucks are abandoned at the local mechanic’s corner as if he went to lunch and never came back. In Del Rio, I stopped for BBQ at a little shack. No happy faces there. The lake level has been dropped 60 feet, the little fish and the nutrients the big fish feed on are gone. It is not anymore the greatest fishing center everyone came to as the ramps are now long and empty, the motel parking lots bare.
We met a new Friend in Houston and planned to have lunch together. While I was early and waiting in the parking lot, the General Manager arriving for his shift stopped, curious about Old Faithful and Spirit. One conversation led to another, of course cooking and recipes involved. Our Life? His dream in ten years he said. His dream, our reality. We had a wonderful lunch, interesting conversations and the tab ended up being his gift to us. While I thanked him, he passed me a business card with his personal phone number adding to call him if ever in Houston again and needing anything.
We stopped in Columbus, Texas, to fuel up. The skies were menacing, the dark clouds moving at an incredible speed. I knew too well of the outcome waiting for us. As we rolled away from the pump I saw a sign only few feet away welcoming campers and a few empty spaces. I did not have to think about it twice as we headed toward its entrance. A man was standing by and I asked him if he worked there. He did not but was a regular and himself had been on the road for about 15 years. He offered us to pull right along his camper as all I wanted was to set up quickly, for the both of us to get some sleep and move on early morning towards our friend’s home in Vidor. Literally five seconds after setting up, a violent hailstorm took place. The timing could have not been any better.
I am self publishing our book. With help of course. We are at the formatting stages, and I must say it is looking really nice while we wait for the first proof in PDF format, then on the first print to also be proofed. A few days ago I received an email from a reader who is an Agent/Publisher. It is a tough road to go that route. I have known of writers waiting as much as seven years to finally awaken the curiosity of an agent. The email received stated that they would be very happy to take our manuscript in strong consideration for publishing. When I replied thanking her and explaining I had already taken the steps for self publishing, she replied that they would be happy to buy a copy, read it and put it through their marketing channels at no cost to us.
These are all little details of our path. I am writing about them because they are created one by one with an attitude embracing life fueled by positive thoughts. I always think when such happens that for us through those days the stars are lined up. I also believe one can indeed line them up. Times can be generous if one allows them to be, while with open arms erase all worries which are only interests paid for a loan not yet taken.
We are in New Iberia, Louisiana, visiting a very close friend of ours. The Tabasco plant and its gardens on Avery Island, an incredible bakery in Jeanerette opened since 1884 baking the best French bread and ginger cakes, crawfish galore, poo boy sandwiches, you name it. It feels as only the beginning of out journey as we are for the first retracing the route we took now almost eight years ago.
Ara and Spirit