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Traveling, living, loving, exploring and trying to make some semblance of sense out of this crazy world.  

 

Friday, July 22, 2011

And the Ants Dig Free Again...

A hard rain and a long afternoon of reflection. Golden sunlight like liquid fire across the tips of scrub oak and blue spruce. Robins and western finches, swallows diving and stalling aginst the blue, blue Colorado sky.

A lot of dismay and anger, lately. I left a state that is (usually correctly) stereotyped for ignorance and destruction, to return to a place that I remembered as somewhat pristine and remote, only to find it had been discovered by the new oil millionaires and "ranchers" of the Lone Star state. To be fair, they are only a part of the problem, but they are such a major part that the rest are only "colateral damage" by comparison.

Felled trees, live and dead, hacked off bushes by the truckload, simply dragged aside and left as fire tinder in a land that has seen far too little rain, despite a recent string of afternoon thunderstorms.

Open pits filled with human feces and toilet paper, swarming with flies, less than a dozen paces from the river's edge. Piles of horse manure, also alight with insects and bearing dozens of species of non-native grains seeds; girdled trees surrounded by pits where thirsty mounts have pawed open the fragile soil to reach water-bearing roots while tethered to soft-skinned saplings. Firepits a-glitter with broken glass that has been strewn across every campsite into which a horse trailer and King Ranch Silverado can be manuevered, and plenty of sawn saplings and taller timber where there wasn't quite enough room. Massive erosion, the loosened soil washing down to smother the rich but fragile carpet of grass that sprouts across the open forest floor.

Trees so carved with initials and "TX" that they are literally bleeding to death. Trees so riddled with bullets that they have broken in half in high winds. Gunfire from huge trucks and Hummers pulled to the shoulder of the road, secure in the knowledge that no NFS lawman has seen this road in the last two months and that cell phone coverage is almost 30 miles away.

In my rage and dismay, I have committed a sin on which I have called too many people; I have generalized. I know that all the residents of the Lone Star State are no irresonsible hooligans and wannabe cowboys with a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, riding their mounts rough-shod across the fragile ecosystems of surrounding states. I klnow that the state of Texas has produced many fine sons and daughters. Indeed, many of the First Texans were first Virginians, who came West to seek a fortune. Some found it, many did not, but all are remembered in the annals of our history, deservedly or not.

But people are only as good as the perception they allow others to perpetuate. And as much destruction as I have withnessed on the East side of the Mississippi River, it does not hold a candle to what I have witnessed in the mountains of the West.

But I did not come here to spread criticism and despair, only to comment on mny apparent blindness. I have friends that I treasure in El Paso and Corpus Christi, and fond memories of Juarez and Laredo, Puerto Penasco and Samalayuca. I think the people of southern Texas, eastern New Mexico and Mexico proper are some of the finest friends I have ever had. I know that they fight the same stereotypes I found prevalent at home and for the same reasons- because good people no longer speak up when they see or hear of their peers acting in a manner which brings disgrace upon their community and region.

It is a fight that I carry in my heart, and too often allow to spill onto the page.

And so this morning, I sat with a cup of steaming coffee, waiting for the sunrise and watching as, after the passing of the storm, the ants dug free again.

We fight our little fights, suffer our tiny tempests in a teacup, make our bold declarations and achieve our little victories and then drown in the first wash of rain. Our carefully constructed castles of sand collapse in on themselves and we are left only with the options to once again laugh at oursleves or shake our fists at a Heaven to whom we must seem small, pathetic, and rather pompous.

I am living a dream, surrounded by beauty and the opportunity for discovery and growth with an amazing woman who is more than I had ever dreamed could enter my life, especially at this late date. I laugh more every day than I have during entire years of my past. I am, in short, blessed, and I am a fool to lose sight of that in debate over which political party is less corrupt (The Whigs, I think...), which politician most inept, which corporation more demonic, and which state the producer of the most destructive rednecks. I know and believe that this world is poised on the brink of a paradigm shift which will render it incomprehensible to all but a small population of dreamers and believers, very few of whom will belong to the dogmatic tribes currently controlling and defining the intellectual and spiritual discourse of human beings and their interactions with the myriad life forms on this planet and in the worlds around us.

I know that my only Path through that Change will be in the light Cindy and I hold between us remaining unsullied by the meaningless debates that swirl in this ephemeral dream that is currently held to be "reality".

So I again foreswear the frenzy of debate and counterattack. There is a wall back there, in the beyond, that we've seen from the top of North Lake's crag; a wall that begs for exploration, and maybe another meaningless flag erected to commemorate a First Ascent. The P.O.W.E.R (Poor Old Worn-out Economic Refugee) Couple will survive; to wander and dream, scrimp and save and maybe even starve a little, but always, in the end, to celebrate the gift of each day.

Storms come, rain falls, conceits collapse.

And the ants dig out again...