Wednesday, November 18, 2009

El Paso and thoughts in between

Going home again is fraught with danger. Memories carefully misplaced can rise to sudden prominence. The roads you drove on disappear under strip malls. Kisses under trees are lost in the wind that cuts through time, leaving only a lingering sense of the promises you made to one another.

I was excited to go to El Paso, mostly to meet with an old friend who recently contacted me after reading my other blog - Crib-Notes. We had, for those ridiculous reasons you have in high school, become estranged. Or maybe it wasn't anything that dramatic. Maybe we just slipped from each other's grasp.

But it's been absolutely soothing to be back in touch. We were the odd chicks of our little farming community. We had wounds we never showed, even to each other. Now as grown women with families and time, we can share like we could have - had we only been wise enough.

Wisdom, for what ever reason, is not generally distributed to 16 year olds. So here we are.

Some of San Elizario seems the same to me. The canal along my grandparent's cotton farm still flows with muddy water, bits of the Rio Grande's desert gold flowing on the steep banks.

The trees my grandfather planted, so spindly and tiny, have gotten huge. They have suffered from a lack of care, my grandfather doted on them so, and even though there weren't very many, we called it the orchard.

The fields are filled with the leavings of the cotton picking harvesters. I remember being shocked at how much was missed, at the clouds of dusty cotton on the ends of the road. We used to jump in the cotton trailer, getting scratched and filthy from all the raw cotton. I grabbed a clump to bring home.

We stopped by the cemetery. It's a very traditional cemetery, the older section with only wooden crosses, the newer section with marble, the Virgen, little fenced off areas, and new plastic flowers. Two other vehicles were there when we arrived in this tiny cemetery, visiting.

The church is as beautiful as I remember it. Here's a brief excerpt from the novel I'm working on that describes it.

Sunlight brightened the curves of the church, adding to the sense of serenity and sensuality, a strange and compelling mix for a catholic church. What may have, at one time, been meant to be austere was revealed by countless painters to be something altogether different.

Apparently the area has become a place for artists to gather. They have opened galleries, have festivals once a month. There is something about this place.

We've talked a long time about selling my grandmother's farm.

I came back and asked my mother to at least not sell our part of it.


The accident

Long story short on this one - I came to a stretch of highway on Monday where there are, apparently, many accidents (there where three on Monday). I think it has to do with the design of the road and the way the sun in the morning will hit you unexpectedly.

Anyway the woman in front of me stopped suddenly, my rental car refused my desperate calls to stop on a dime (or a quarter), then I was hit by another woman.

I felt lousy yesterday, still not so great this morning, but by the afternoon I felt fine. I went to the doctor anyway (since the folks at work went through some effort to set up a clinic I could go to) and after he found two tender areas, pronounced me bruised, but able!

So I'm going to do some more yoga (which helped tremendously) and just thank my guardian angel for working overtime.

I hope the woman I hit is doing ok. She sustained the least damage to her vehicle, but is older and getting hit from behind is tough on the back.

And in a strange way, it may be a good thing that this happened. There have been some... strains in other areas of my world and this has shaken them loose and allowed them to drain away.

In Spanish we say "No hay mal por que bien no venga." Nothing bad happens without something good coming from it.


Veronica said...

The photos are beautiful.

Glad you're just bruised, not broken. Wait, I'm not glad you're bruised. Just glad it wasn't worse.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are feeling better and were able to reconnect with an old friend. I've only been once, briefly, to El Paso, and your pictures showed parts I never saw. Loved the church, and your description of it.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

You know, I like you. You seem like a really good person. Just the fact that you are worried about the woman who, technically, triggered the accident and are not holding any resentment against her is amazing. You also have a good perspective on life.