wonder • wander
a collection of thoughts, musings, and milestones
“Home is the hunter (wanderer), home from the hill (country)”. Thank you, Robert Louis Stevenson (for the cadence) and apologies to scholars for the plagiarism.
A picture may be “worth a thousand words” ---or more--- but a road trip through Texas, is worth an infinite number of words. All my senses were in full alert as I traveled along a few of the highways and byways of The Lone Star State. I heard the trains… “And when”, I asked myself---because I was alone---"did trains get so incredibly loooong!?” At one railroad crossing in Fort Stanton, I waited for almost five minutes while the tanker and container cars clacked by and by and by. I smelled the feedlots---and I asked myself (chastised myself) again, “why do I eat meat?” I tasted migas for the first time in a long time—in three different restaurants. (Note: migas are best when the chips are crunchy.) I saw a sign on a billboard advertising “World Famous Beef Jerky”. Who knew there was such a thing! I imagined someone in Fiji or Finland feasting on and commenting about the fame of that special brand of jerky. (“It’s famous, you know.”) I felt the wind and the rain and the sun---all Texas-sized.
If I were to write an epic poem about my trip---or even just one of those long poems one struggles to read on parts of two pages in The New Yorker---it would have to include some (or all) of these elements: 1) A bloated dead Black Angus cow on its back, with four feet sticking straight skyward---as if “playing dead”, I thought, smiling to myself because…it wasn’t playing! There was so much road kill along those miles. Caused by people in a rush, I guess…and animals in states of confusion. I “encountered” a doe and a buck bounding across the road right in front of my car…a reminder to drive carefully and to pay attention. 2) Empty, boarded-up, burned- out buildings where small businesses once flourished. Big box stores standing at the edges of towns…3) Hawks and ravens and, to my delight, one cardinal (because then the rains came and the birds hid in trees beyond my view). 4) A herd of antelope—such graceful, shy animals! 5) A portly, off-balanced man, in a red plaid shirt, on a steep incline, fastening a huge American flag to an equally big sign reading GUN AND KNIFE SHOW THIS SATURDAY 6) Beautiful stretches of road, marvelous rocks and ridges, some rivers…tall grass…Nature. And then, a sign for a housing development: Paleface Ranch---and I wondered who, in the world, would want to live there? 7) A gardener collecting small flowers to garnish meals at the fancy Spa. 8) “Keep Out” signs. “Trump” signs. “Wrong Way” signs. “Exit Only” signs. All signs of our times.
In that remarkable nine-day journey, I saw a thin slice of Texas---which is also a thin slice of America. It wasn’t, by any means, a true cross section…but it did give me some insight into the vastness and diversity of the state and the beautiful people who inhabit it. And it gave me some solo time to consider the trials, triumphs, and tribulations of this struggling country which continues to conquer dangerous and confusing crossroads.
Wonder & Wander
A collection of thoughts, musings, and milestones from author, wonderer, and wanderer, Linda Durham.
Copyright © Linda Durham 2021 | Site Design by Angulo Marketing & Design
Linda Durham is a human rights advocate, adventurer, author of Still Moving, The Trans-Siberian Railway Journey, An Art and Friendship Project, and a Sixties Manhattan Playboy Bunny. She is the founder and director of Santa Fe's Wonder Institute, which sponsors art exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and salons focused on discovering and implementing creative solutions to contemporary social and cultural issues. For more than three decades, Durham promoted New Mexico-based artists as the hands-on owner of contemporary art galleries in Santa Fe and New York.