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Rio Grande

This December I had an opportunity to visit a part of the country I'd never seen before. My friend needed a road tripping companion to get from Ft. Hood, Texas to Tucson, Arizona via Big Bend National Park. My immediate answer was yes. With two kids and a dog? Double yes.
It wasn't long into our trip before we started seeing huge landscapes, distant hills, and oil fields. We also passed miles of pecan trees and tiny town after tiny town.  Little did I know we were heading to Terlingua Texas, a town of only 58 (according to the 2010 census)- probably the smallest town I've ever been in.  We had dinner- a sit down dinner- in a gas station because that was the only restaurant we could find.
Santa Elena Canyon

Terlingua is the closest town to the entrance to Big Bend, and when we left to enter the park, we still had a 40 mile drive to the first ranger station.  The size of this area is not something that this east coaster could comprehend. Miles and miles of isolation.  I say isolation and not 'nothing' because the area is full of life and majesty.  The dry, unforgiving landscape is home to many unique plants and animals.  The bend of big bend is a bend of the Rio Grande river which snakes along the border of Texas and Mexico for almost 900 miles.  In our short visit we saw a black bear, coyotes, road runners, and many other birds.
In the southwest corner of the park the river comes through a wall of rock at the Santa Elena canyon and is one of most amazing things I've ever seen.

The next day we drove along the river through Lajitas, TX (who can boast a former beer drinking goat as mayor) to Presidio, TX.  In this drive, we felt like we were in a movie.  Sharp red cliffs, spectacular views of the bending river, and sunrise to boot- it was simply lovely.

These two days gave me my first look at Mexico.  The first look at where everyone supposes this wall will go.  After being seeing it for myself, the whole topic gets me feeling pretty emotional. Scarring that landscape with a wall would be a crime against nature and our country.  After seeing it, a wall feels like a right-down treasonous idea.

That said: go. Get down there and see it for yourself.  Ponder this:  if an immigrant is not deterred by a vast, desolate desert and a wide river, will a 20 foot wall do the trick?




This post first appeared on A Work In Progress, please read the originial post: here

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