There is a road leading into our Eastern New Mexico city that has the unfortunate moniker of “the trail of tears.” As families drive deeper into the desert, the negative preconceptions that have been heaped upon them before arriving seem to overwhelm. I imagine it is because the city seems so desolate and rundown when looking at the faded facades and dusty laneways.
I imagine it is because the city seems so desolate and rundown when looking at the faded facades and dusty laneways.
There is row upon row of rail lines with freight trains with hundreds of containers and rail stock.
For a girl who loves trains, it’s not so bad.
The wind blows hard and full of dust.
But in the midst of a town that presents a tired face, there is hope.
There is colour.
There is art.
And as we travel in any direction, there is natural beauty.
It is harsh and forbidding.
But, it is beauty none the less.
The beauty of the desert and the epic nature of the landscape forces you to focus on the details.
You don’t miss the forest for the trees when there are no trees.
The sky is light blue — the clouds like wispy strands of hair across the sky: shaded by pink in the early evening. The sunsets here are colourful, and being able to see silos and train tracks from 10 miles away feels poignant. But then, I am inclined to be romantic.
The altitude is high and the soil is full of clay.
We usually drive into town from a different direction, where it seems as if we climb and we fall, as if we are falling off the edge of the world.
This new place for me is a place to explore; a place to seek to understand; a place to seek to bloom.
But, i have questions…
Will my roar sound here?
Will it dissipate across the tilled ground toward the loing cattle, lost in the stench of cattle manure.
Will it echo across the vast desert lands?
In part because we too have been separated following the drive on the trail of tears, these tears are also my own. But not today, at least not the sad kind. Ths time the trail of tears has brought me home to my love.
“For a moment I had a view of a world that seemed to wear a vast and dismal aspect of disorder. While, in truth, thanks to our unwearied efforts, it is as sunny an arrangement of small conveniences as the mind of man can conceive.” — Joseph Conrad “Lord Jim”
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**Inspired by some prompts from January’s story session newsletter.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.