The More Things Stay the Same

Posted by admin - 06/06/14 at 08:06 am

I hopped out of bed at 4 AM, determined to watch the plains wake up,
rode away from El Paso on my metallic steed long before the bacon hit the skillet.
Carlos Santana and I hit a groove as a pale aura crept onto the horizon, a misty haze that came from nowhere yet extended everywhere, a gray tint across a vast expanse.

I reflected on how much had changed since vaqueros roamed the land, as I saw the exact morning that spread out before me, and had for thousands, perhaps millions of years.
I thought about how much had stayed the same, and would continue that way for just as long.
We, the people, in all our incarnations, with our myriad personalities, certainly would.

From battlefields to boardrooms and caves to condos, the basic human spirit, the desire to triumph, to love and be loved, remains constant.
The need for personal space, whether behind a closed door, hidden beneath a headset on a crowded subway or on the rump of a horse, will find a way to make itself heard and cause dis-ease if ignored.
Perhaps the time to squat on our haunches and gaze at the horizon has passed, olden trails surrendered into asphalt arteries.
Perhaps not.

I can’t help but ponder the questions of the ages, asked and discarded without answers by all thinkers in all civilizations, past and present.
If we can scratch the clouds with a skyscraper, why can’t we build a bridge between our brethren?
If we can teach a machine to reason like man, why can’t we teach man any reason?
If we can cure rare ailments, why can’t we mend a broken heart?

Queries that mock responses.
What would the lone cowboy say?
Would it come through in a song?
Does the journey defy the destination?

Mile after mile without an insight, a puzzle without resolve.
Maybe to fully live means not to fully grasp, rather to observe and absorb, accept and embrace, relish the wonder without need for understanding.
Maybe full knowing would convert the goal into the end, the summit into the coveted chalice instead of the process that grants the sensitivity necessary to drink from it and gain the wisdom to seek another peak.
Maybe I watched too many old Westerns or read too many novels.

I can hear a harmonica echoing between mesas, blending with the bray of a hundred steer settling in for the night.
I can picture the campfire—no need for small talk, contentment in the crackle and swirling colors in the flames.
Precious, noble moments for quiet contemplation.

Tendrils of sun rays surged down the undulating hills like molten lava, wiping out the mist.
My dark glasses replaced the wide-brimmed hat.
I drove and drove and drove across Texas.

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