It was about ten years ago and my first trip to Marfa. I wasn’t there for Judd’s concrete boxes, likely hadn’t been tipped to Judd’s genius at the time. I was down for some Border Patrol meeting, the substance of which has long escaped me, distanced as I am by thousands of news items and feature assignments.
Fences were going up in a nearby border state at the time and I couldn’t help but ask: Were there any plans to build a fence here in Big Bend? The room erupted in laughter.
Considering the terrain, it seemed unthinkable — ridiculous.
Father Roy showed up at the end of this week’s No Wall walk to splash us with some sanctified Rio Grande water outside the historic La Lomita Chapel. A fine and welcome gesture — even if all the local convenience stores were out of Lone Star and we were reduced to mere Miller quaffers.
When I set out a little over two weeks ago my dreams were of being lost in the suburbs, but my first night staying at a ranch north of La Jola changed all that. I walk to the window and look over a Yucatan-like scene. The sky is full of birds of every imaginable color and size, fantastical creatures. Feathers and sunshine swirl everywhere. Many more dreams like this and I may not leave.
The desk I have been given to work at is said to be my host’s great-grandfather’s. Another honor. Catarino Garza was a “journalist, revolutionary, and folk hero,” according to Handbook of Texas Online.
I’ve been in Del Rio three times and never seen downtown. I’ve driven along the strip mall lanes of highways 90 and 277 and wondered. This time I enter with purpose, I want a coffee shop and wireless. It’s deadline day for my first installment of Muro. And it is Sunday.
While I didn’t quite catch on about what day it was until after I made a U-turn for a federal office, thinking I could pick up a copy of Homeland Security’s Draft Environmental Assessment for the Del Rio Sector, I did manage to find downtown. I liked it. I drove a few extra blocks just to make sure then started to hedge some right angles to coast back in for another look.
Day one. Settling into breakfast in Alpine. The woman in line has a copy of Homeland Security’s “Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of Tactical Infrastructure” under her arm. She taps the words Tactical Infrastructure saying, “This is what it’s about.” She is challenging me to decipher the opacity of the words. Tactical, useful. Infrastructure, stuff.