Along the El Camino Real – from Volume II, Dreams of the Barbed Wire

‘Night in Las Cruces’

…” The wind was blowing tumbleweeds from Texas to L.A.”

Wooden crosses dot the roadside along the El Camino Real, marking the lives of the poor souls who didn’t make it.  They came up from Mexico 150 years ago, looking for a life free from terror and violence.  They survived the Chihuahua desert.  They crossed the Rio Grande.  They lived on jackrabbits and cactus juice.  And hope.  Hope for a future in America.  Mexicans, Indians, Spaniards, Americans.  Who’s who?  Eventually it’s conquistadores y el conquistado, no mas.  Someone drew a line at the river and said, “This is mine, that’s yours” and neighbors became enemies.

 In most ways since, not much has changed.

Carmelita, 1960

Sin Fronteras – No Borders

No, not much has changed.  They still come and they still die.  And they still seek a better life for themselves and their children and who’s to blame them?  Yes I know we’re a sovereign nation and we have laws and we were here first and – oh, wait, no we weren’t.  Well, anyway, we have laws and they must be enforced.  We have borders and they must not be crossed.  We have jobs and we don’t want anybody else doing them.  Boot ’em all out!  Build that wall!  Mexico, you owe us ten billion dollars.

I long for a time before fences, walls, borders.  Yes, I know my ignorance is showing.  I imagine the first time a guy picked up a club to kill food or to protect himself, there was a line drawn and a territory had to be established.  People always divided into tribes and looked with suspicion and distrust upon those on the other side.  I guess we can’t deny that it is simply human nature and there must be a good reason for it.  Whatever small slice of history one would look at, probably would not yield a picture of Utopian freedom – a land with no borders or groups without conflict.

Still… We all live on stolen land that no one can own but God.  And Mexico is our neighbor.  Hay alguien que me espera al otro lado del rio.

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