Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Two Sides of the River

In Castolan Village we get something to drink and stand between the stabby things at the edge of the plateau and gaze out over the flood plain of the Rio Grande. Although views from other angles vary, the contrast here between the two sides of the river is stark.

On the northern side, chalky slag heaps and white hills of detritus litter the desert as if spewed from the pits of hell. The sun beats down mercilessly even in spring. This is not the a place you'd even want to visit unless you had somewhere else to go.

On the southern side, cliffs of rock climb skyward. Great balconies of limestone look out over the river. You can almost feel the forces that thrust them up. And you can't help but wonder what it would be like to stand at the top and view the land.

Big Bend National Park

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Not Made For This

My constitution has become too soft. Working from home. A 30 second morning commute. Phone calls from the garden. Breezes and blue skies just a few steps away. Still, sometimes I venture out.

But yesterday, the traffic. It took 45 minutes to go three blocks, and of course I had much farther than that to go. People rush up from behind and cut in front and generally consider their particular purpose deserving of deference. And you sit at the light as it goes from red to green to red to green, and still you can't go thru the intersection.

And today, the traffic. An accident somewhere on an overpass had highways and streets in this quarter at a standstill. An ambulance crawled along the left shoulder, its siren and lights not doing much good — you can't pull over when there's nothing to pull onto. I thought I started home early but ended up getting home late, ground to a pulp by the stop and go, bumper to bumper.

I'm just not made for this.

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