Ghost View south, Dec. 19, 2009
Three of the last four posts have involved this window. The view to the south. One block to Alameda Street, two more down Stevens and, voila, you’re at the bridge, then you’re in Juarez, then if you keep going you’re on the carretera to Ciudad Chihuahua, then Torreon, then Puebla and Mexico and then… well who knows where this ends?
This is the last one of this window for awhile. I’ve been clinging to it. Home. I’ve been shooting from this window and the roof right out my back door for decades. The view hasn’t changed that much.
But I can’t stop looking south.
When I first came to this barrio I thought I had my back up against the wall. Kind of did. No job. Love gone wrong. And go back? To what? First, I needed to sit down and let something happen. How much further could I get from the past? I thought my freedom had slipped away.
The person I came here with was now heading north. Everyone I knew was heading either east or west.
I waved goodbye.
I was up against a hard border line to the south. Stuck. Stasis.
One day I turned around and looked out this window and realized where I was, what I was looking at, and that I needed to keep looking. And I have. But it’s all gone upside down. Or is that right side up? My back is still hard up against the wall, but the wall is to the north. I’m staring out this same window, but now with awe and anticipation; caged and ready to flee.
What a joke that has turned out to be. To Mexico? To Juarez?! The freedom traffic is heading north.
So, perhaps, my real freedom is to be found only in this view on these three blocks: my own little piece of space. Maybe that’s all there is.
Perhaps it’s not the view of the rest of the hemisphere that’s calling me, but just this view and the journey I’ve lived while looking out at it.
It’s all a myth; but the ghosts are real.
And they’re all mine.