The stacked and shelving clouds parted over Mount Wrightson as I walked to the barn. Below me to the west, the Sonoita Creek drainage was filled with mists left over from last night’s rain, a scene dim and vague and shifting. The dawn air was crisp with the promise of fall. The monsoon started promptly on cue—San Juan’s Day, June 24th—and it was still raining now at September’s end. In the foreground plain, the tawny grasses were bent with heavy dew. Around the barn, the oaks dripped with moisture. A family of Mexican jays squawked, protesting my intrusion into their leafy space. I wished I had known their language. They may not be what we humans call intelligent, but they knew all that they needed to know. Oscar said jays organized their flocks from close family members, a morsel of natural history I find uplifting.
Mount Wrightson glistened as the rising sun chased the night shadows back into the canyons. In our westerly, wide open view, not a single man-made structure marred the setting: not house or road, concrete or asphalt, pole line or fence. As always, this landscape renewed my sense of enlargement; the feeling that life on the borderlands does not have to be cramped and fearful.
It may come as a surprise to politicians and the Department of homeland Security that there are places and people on the borderlands who do not want or need another nineteen thousand Border Patrol, seven hundred more miles of fence, and around-the-clock snooping in our private lives (numbers from the Immigration Reform Bill). Let the Department of Homeland Security retrain and reassign the available personnel and assets to make them more effective, but please don’t militarize our homeland any further.
Excerpt from Riding Behind the Padre, page 201.