Oil on Canvas
30 ” x 40″
This is from an old photo I took while in Real de Catorce Mexico back in 1989?
Life is a series of doors we step through. Each door leads to a new Universe. These doors come to us as people, places or even activities. Each person, for example, is the center of their Universe, and you become a satellite of them there just as they are a satellite within yours. Some people do not step through many doors, staying for the most part in the same Universe into which they were born. This is okay, as each Universe is infinite and provides limitless experience.
I have always been eager to open new doors. In my youth there were so many, and each opened into a world with even more exciting doorways available. I flew through them daily, until the world from the year before, when re-visited, seemed alien to me and I had no place there. Eventually I came to a point where the doors seemed to beckon to me, urging me to step through and thereby become as them. This was a little frightening, and I got into the habit of searching out new doors which were similar but different to the future I was being urged toward. I in effect invented my own doorways.
I would sit and think. I would sit and dream. I would use logic and analogy to come up with a plan. Sometimes my depression would force me to act, and I would spin into a world where no one else had been before. This has become a habit over the years. Now I feel more comfortable sailing through an alien landscape than playing a role within the status quo. But this kind of life, though tremendously rewarding, has depleted my power reserves over the years, especially financially. For to get anywhere within a world, one must put down roots and gather reserves. I’ve never done this.
A long time ago I realized we are all in prisons of our own making. The only answer is to design your cell with as much care as possible. Lately I’ve actually designed and created my prison cell from scratch, as it were. From the porch of this little dwelling I can sit and ponder a landscape of boundless beauty. I can see mountains that are fifty miles away or watch the movements of tiny insects at my feet. And yet, it is still a prison.
Now the doors aren’t appearing very often, and my imagination for inventing new doors seems to be wearing away as well. Oh I still have big dreams, but I can’t imagine how to fund them.
If I only had a little dough.
I was sitting in the shade looking at a dragonfly perched on the hood of my truck like a tiny hood ornament, thinking about how flies can stay in the vicinity even after a stiff breeze comes by. Do they fly against the wind to keep in place? Do they hide behind something until it passes? Are they blown away and just replaced by flies from upwind?
These are the profound thoughts I was having when I noted a small roar off in the distance. I’ve heard it before, and it was getting louder and closer. It was the roar of wind blowing through the brush and trees of my desert vicinity. As the roar became increasingly louder I could see the trees in the distance bending. The roar of the wind was fluctuating as it approached, like a wave approaching the beach. It was just about to break upon me.
As the wind hit I closed my eyes, but the sand and jetsam stung my bare skin like tiny needles. I was then thinking I should have ducked into the shelter, but soon enough it passed. A stool had blown over, and a wooden pallet, but most everything stayed in place, having been situated according to previous blasts across the land.
I looked over at my dragonfly hood-ornament, still in place. The flies would be back soon.
I thought about including this post in my Journey Through Latin America, but after spending some time in Texas I realized it really is not very Latino. They have alot of Latinos there , and some great Tex-Mex food, but it really is a place of its own. After a week with my parents in Victoria, Texas I scooted up to Reedville to stay over with my cousin Luke and his beautiful wife and darling daughter. I took full advantage of the huge crop of pecans they had all over their yard before heading out towards Austin. As I left Reedville I spotted this Longhorn grazing nearby.
Austin, Texas has grown phenomenally since I lived there in the 80’s and early 90’s. They seem to have raised a skyscraper for each of the 17 years since I left. It is a fabulous place, with posh restaurants and a funky neo-retro look to all the latest architecture. They have a great statue of my old buddy Stevie Ray on the shores of Ladybird Lake.
Despite the urgings of my friends to stay in Austin and re-make my life there, I felt the Sonoran Desert calling me. I had a long drive from Austin to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico where I stayed with my cousin Jeff. I enjoyed meeting his kids and viewing his leatherworking shop, but soon I was back on the road to Arizona. I stopped at my favorite rest area near Texas Canyon, AZ where the landscape is otherworldly.
By mid-afternoon I was in Tucson, and I breathed deep the air of the Sonoran Desert. Stepping out of my car into the yard of my friend Ann Marie, the smell of creosote bush and other subtle fragrances wafted welcomely through my nostrils. The next day I couldn’t wait to drive a little further west towards the Coyote Wilderness Area where I hope to purchase some land and begin building a Sustainable Desert Community. This is my latest dream, and I encourage you to follow this new blog to see how it progresses.
After a long day on the bus from Oaxaca, I finally arrived at the Hostal Santo Domingo in Puebla, Mexico. It was chilly here, not only for the season, but also because of the high elevation. Traffic was heavy, and I did not enjoy the high level of air pollution, but the hostel was nice, the showers were hot, and they provided two warm blankets as well as clean sheets.
I walked around downtown Puebla a few hours looking for a white jacket or “ropa tipica” but had no luck. There were several shops selling interesting rustic furniture and antiques. I searched for several blocks, asking people along the way, for “un buen pozole” which I finally found. Pozole is a thick spicy soup with hominy corn, meat and cheese and lettuce. It was just what I needed.
The hostal provided free internet access, and I spent a long while investigating the different possible routes to get back to Texas. I had planned on stopping in one more city in Mexico to break up the trip, but either the buses did not arrive there from Puebla, or the expense was prohibitive. I finally decided to just take an economical 18 hour trip straight to Reynosa on the Texan border.
This is a shot of the river in Tuxpan, on the gulf coast of Mexico, which is where our bus was after travelling six hours from Puebla through Pachuca and Poza Rica. We went on to Tampico, where everyone had to get off the bus for twenty minutes while they cleaned up and refueled. When we took off I noticed the lady who had been sitting next to me was not there. Fifteen minutes later she got on at a traffic light–she had missed the bus and had to take a taxi to catch up with us.
By 6:30 AM we had reached Reynosa, and I had a weak club sandwich before boarding a $4 bus to McAllen, Texas. It took almost 45 minutes to cross the intrenational bridge and get through US immigration, but everything went smoothly. In McAllen I got straight on a bus to Victoria, with stops in Falfurrias and Corpus Christi along the way. The weather was balmy, and apparently the winter was mild enough to keep the papaya tree in my parent’s backyard alive.