Ten years after I moved back to Texas, I find myself moving back to Texas.
Both times I left California, set out from the glistening, gleaming, glinting green-infested coastline and rode over the mountains into the gray harsh lines of the desert, wondering what the hell I was doing. What makes a person go from such a spoiling landscape into such a trying one.
Ten years ago I stopped the car to take pictures as I crossed the line into Texas from New Mexico. A huge stone monument there with a lone star on the top. Then after it a sign of welcome. Today I took the same picture, but this time I didn't stop. I just slowed the car down and snapped the photo at just the right moment. The photo worked:
After crossing, piles of tumbleweeds gathered under a highway overpass on I-10. Three huge piles on each side. Like an intergalactic superhero or TXDOT had raked them into orderly piles awaiting pickup by the highway tumbleweed patrol.
Almost all of the palm trees in El Paso have died. A long freeze this past winter killed most of them off. Barrelling down asphalt, the post-like, previously-palm sentries are another welcome sign to add to the first. This ain't California no more, they say. Winters freeze the leaves off palms. Summers scald their dead fingers into crusty, crackling gray. Extremes. The way things collapse.
Essays have a function. An essay is an invitation to think about a particular something from a different vantage point. An essay argues or expounds or explains or thinks through a particular something. I am always shocked when I hear people read this blog, this old form of communication, this old man's internet game. This isn't a Tumblr or a tweet. Let's write essays that invite people into the game, posts that allow us to explore together, explode old ideas together. Let's write essays that think through things in writing, evidence of my thinking through things in writing. So that you can think through these same things in reading.
Beginning in Arizona, huge smokeclouds rose up from the mountains in the distance. Plumes of white (or green? or brown?) rising up like some kind of strange bomb had gone off on the other side of the blue-brown range. The color of the smoke changed as it floated out and dispersed over the flatlands. Darker, dustier, sandier. Mixing with dust devils. The sky became divided in two: the green, brown chalky grey on one side, Martian and desolate and eerie:
On the other the mountains gold and green and dead-grass yellow set off from the blue, blue sky blue. The highway cutting down the middle.
Colors are a challenge for me. How do I write about colors when I don't even know what each one is called? You have a different name for these colors than I do. My words for colors are bulky and primary, rough and preliminary. I'm constantly unsure of these words I put to color, the names I come up for them. A certain kind of blindness. Steadily wondering if the color I have named is not the one you would pick for it. And you are correct. I am wrong usually.
How do I write about feelings when I don't even know what each one is called? The same thinking-through goes here. I make up names for emotions, yet your happy is not my happy. Your sad isn't my sad. You are correct. I am wrong usually.
These words are bulky and primary, rough and preliminary.
As the Franklin Mountains rose up on the horizon, I knew I'd stumbled back to an intimate space, a familiarity. Sitting on the patio with a hot wind blowing down on me. My lips chapped. My mouth dried out. My I made different by this searing wind.
Maybe ten years from now I will be moving back to Texas again.
(Este es el tipo de post "personal" de blog que me hace sentir sumamente incómodo. Ni modo. Ahí le voy publicando más cosas en este espacio. A veces me vienen unas ganas y qué le puedo hacer.)