Alameda in Mist, December 2, 2009
The view south, across Alameda street, across the Chamizal, three blocks beyond, across the bridge, into Juarez, into Chihuahua, into Mexico, beyond.
Usually the view is razor sharp. The last few days have fuzzed things up: snow, rain, and, now, this morning, fog.
Been looking south across this razor sharp landscape for a long time and, finally, a little fuzz feels right. There will be no clarity. Better people than I have written and viewed this border, came up with “clarifications,” and “explanations,” and “revelations,” and yet it goes on, untamed, inexplicable, roque.
This is the crossroads: you look into this landscape, into this photo and you look north and south, Tierra del Fuego to the south, Canada behind me. You look horizontally across this landscape and it’s Alameda Street, the old US 80, the “Spanish Trail,” from Savanna, Georgia to San Diego. Up and down and all around. Linear. Sharp. Clear
And yet, nothing in this frame is clear, not much on this border is simple and straight, even though it sometimes looks that way. Nothing tangible. I have found some kind of personal truth, I know: the clarity of the idea of wealth, the fundamental lessons of family, the sly pleasures of being on the backside of a mirror. But definitive clarity about the border, itself?
I don’t know if this border is, as writer Paul Salopek once opined, a place of “resilient mediocrity,” or just unfathomable mystery.