Tuesday, April 05, 2011


WHERE COYOTES HOWL----AND PROWL. I've been invited to the deep hinterlands of Arizona's border area with Mexico. I'll go---I've learned to say yes when new experiences beckon. Directions given me: South of Tucson---find the giant Steer head at Amado and turn West.

Drive about 30 miles into the boondocks--the road will turn to gravel--but keep driving.
Drive past the billiondollar "electronic fence" ---motion detector designed to pinpoint the location of illegals moving up the valley so that the border patrol can go scoop them up. Well what could go wrong with such a well-thought-out plan? HOW ABOUT COYOTES--THE FOUR LEGGED KIND SETTING OFF A HUNDRED FALSE POSITIVES---CRYING WOLF, WOLF--(was told they just turned it off---another billion down the drain)
There's where I'm going---that ranch house in the distance. It's an old ranch--from last century. A popular novel was written in it. Can you imagine living there?
Gotta get across this arroya---it's worse than it looks and would stop large motor homes---likely twist their frames and break a windshields. Those contemplating the RV lifestyle should factor in where the assorted rigs can and cannot go. I like my 21 footer---
Got across with no real problem.
And there's my destination.
No electricity out here---everything is solar powered---lights---water system--fridge. A bank of deep cycle batteries stores up power from these panels.
My host takes me on a long walk as soon as I am settled.
An old fashioned corral made of desert debris. Actually a cool inviting place---enjoyed poking around--feeling its history.
That's a lot of water---still services the cows and horses that wander about. Can you read the message on the tank? It says "PLEASE DO NOT SHOOT AT THE TANK".
Here's where the water comes from.
A very surprising sign---only in spanish--directed at the illegals--requesting that they turn off the faucet after drinking---and that they not damage the pump because others' lives may depend on it.

Then this comes by---The Border Patrol---they were everywhere down here.
Their horses are saddled--ready to go roundup humans.
A major route for border crossers. My host points to that old abandoned trailer down there--we will investigate.
A tiny surprise is barely visible between the tree and the trailer---I'll go closer.
There---clearly visible---and re filled frequently I am told---a gallon of good water--placed conspicuously----by sincere humanitarians. Many many others dot the entire route----I wondered if the infiltrators grasped the irony and the ambivalence of us Americans---sympathetic and caring all the while we are hunting them down and sending them back. On another occasion I watched the interaction of Captors and Captives---a group of eight--rounded up by horsemen----There was no shouting or abuse--each was searched, given water, seated in the shade till a truck came to transport them. I detected an easy familiarity and even some humor exchanged. Seemed to be a game---the rules understood by all.
Inside the trailer---some furniture--a bed--and this sleeping bag.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I'm chiding myself: ENOUGH ALREADY with the illegal immigration thing. What interest me more in this setting are my feelings as we wander for some days up the mountains and down the washes. Normally a chatterbox--I begin to calm down---speaking less often. The silence out here really is golden. We watched from the back porch as the super moon rose from the mountains. Great moment. Tomorrow I hope to share with you an incredible dinner party my host arranged---drawing in extraordinary intellects from as far away as Alaska.


Michael said...

Excellent post!

Rustedgranny said...

Enjoy your explorations.

Tesaje said...

Ambivalence, indeed. Note the humanitarian aspect of the Border Patrol. They must enforce the law but they also save lives.

There is much culpability inside Mexico with the inhumane dumping of desperate people with no resources in a vast and desolate landscape. Even worse are those who fill trucks with people and leave them to die - locked inside at the 1st sign of trouble. Why they can't unlock the truck then run is beyond me.

And there is also the inhumane aspect of unfettered capitalism - we don't care if you don't win.

Leaving water is a good thing to do regardless of where you believe the "right" is. After all, the Border Patrol does the same thing - always carry water and do what they can to save lives.

Randy said...

Well said Tesaje: I agree on every point.

Jim said...

Unbelievable! I just typed a several paragraph response and lost it all! Google says "we're sorry . . . unable to process your response." Aaaarrrggghhh!

pamela said...

What "popular novel" was written in the ranch house?

Randy said...

My host didn't know--but I will try to find out.

Anonymous said...

The author was Charles Bowden. He lives in Tucson, AZ and writes extensively about the border issues - particularly Juarez and the murders there. His novel, "Down by the River," written in 2002 is especially compelling. What the host did not know was which book was written there.