Everybody in this town waves.
I met Vivian yesterday. She cheered me on as I ran by. “I’m the person who will always cheer you on.”
Or the young Mexican-American woman who goes to college, home for Thanksgiving. Her major is “Homeland Security.”
“I didn’t know there was such a thing as a major in homeland security,” I said.
We didn’t get to talk much about it. She is full of light, her eyes sparkle and her words glitter with enthusiasm about her future.
Or Joe, the general manager at a restaurant in town. He used to live in Detroit. He lives here now with his kids and wife. They came back home to be close to family. We talked about gentrification and housing and trying to make ends meet.
Or Jeffery, a barista at the local coffee shop who lovingly and carefully spent five-plus minutes making the best cinnamon-sugar-buttery toast I’ve ever had.
Or Danielle, who moved here after life in the corporate world. She doesn’t seem much older than my son Hank. She sews in the storefront window of the shop she and her business partner own. Her clothes are divine, each stitch is intentional.
The border security stations, there are two nearby. The barbed wire fences that surround them. The trucks, the mobile buildings. I don’t see a single human and wonder where they have all gone.
Or the dirt hill that lifted me high above the path I ran one morning. I ventured there for reasons I don’t know. The holes in the sandy desert…the critters who live deep down in the earth, the rattlesnakes and scorpions.
I drive a while on the back road the locals call “the road to Mexico.” A two-lane journey that 34 miles in, turns to dirt. I didn’t make it that far, afraid because someone told me to be afraid out there in the desolate loneliness of this beautiful landscape, this beautiful America.