August 7, 2007

In this day and age you have to get off the main roads.

If you want to see history, if you want to see small-town west Texas and central Texas for what it is. If you want to see small-town America and its good-hearted people struggling to survive in an era of soulless, profit-driven restaurant and retail chains, of WalMarts and Lowes and Applebees, of an America that has lost its soul in its reckless pursuit of the Almighty Dollar and narcissism and gluttony run amok, you have to WANT to get off where the roadmaps tell you to go. You have to WANT to get off not just the interstates, but even the secondary state roads that meander through towns with names like Christoval, El Dorado, Roosevelt, and Eden.

Here’s the honest-to-God’s-truth: if you safely follow the mapped-out routes like a careful and cautious good dooby would, you’ll NEVER see anything worth seeing; you have to get off the main roads, look for historical districts and/or side roads obscurred by the wreckage of lost dreams and days gone by, of hopes dashed and hopes dusted, for it is only there where you’ll find the American Dream in all its faded glory – for better or for worse. And what will you see? Small towns left for dead by the shifting sands of history. Past glories worn-out and faded by misguided or miscast dreams remembered by main streets lined with false-fronted storefronts and raised sidewalks, and city halls and courthouses fronted by markers identifying families long-departed but responsible for guiding the towns through their Guilded Age and achieving their former greatnesss on the backs of oil fields now abandoned and marked by sagebrush, and the cattle whose prior domains are marked by rusted wrought-iron arches with anonymous identifiers like “Triple W Ranch” and “H.W. Layton”, names surely known locally, but only for the parcel of land and stock they have worked hard and long to claim for themselves.

This is a place I have unexpectedly found myself at home with. Life here is simple: the sky is violent in the spring, hot in the summer, cold in the winter. Throughout the seasons, the only common denominator experienced by all is the wind that blows constantly, whistling through the ages and the trees and the fields, clattering and banging any kind of metal not securely fastened. No expectations, no promises, just day-to-day living. This, pure and simple, is the sound of freedom, of a humility and dependency on the land and those whom you share the same piece of land with, something that is increasingly unheard of and disdained in this coarse, individualistic, narcissistic, and corrupt culture we know as 21st century America.

I fear that as a country we have lost our soul. We have traded our God and our humility as individuals part of a greater whole and goodness for a fruitless pursuit of bigger cars, bigger homes, and a wealth of high-tech toys, and for what – greater self-satisfaction and the feeling of accomplishment? Surely God cannot be pleased with this route we have taken. Should we not be called back to the land, and a much-needed humility that results from the awareness of all we’ve been given and a reliance on family, friends, and tradition? After all, is that not what we are all made of and came from? These are big questions – questions, I’m afraid, this country has no more time for – after all, we’re too busy taking our kids to Disney World, or following the stock market, or planning our retirements and purchasing our second, third, and fourth homes. Is this what God had planned for us when this country was founded by His Providence? I think not.

I traveled southeast from San Angelo under a hot blue sky and said farewell to a country I had never experienced before, yet felt my soul entwined with forever. At Sonora, I hit the interstate and made a bee-line towards San Antonio. Fifty miles from my destination, I enountered all the trapping of our corrupt modern American culture – malls, new development, aggressive traffic, and advertisements for everything from erectile dysfunction to over-sized play areas for our spoiled children. It made me sad and longing for the places I had left behind just two hours before.

San Antonio itself was a bear of twisted traffic patterns that weaved their ways through all kinds of under-construction routes. The Riverwalk was quite nice – a meandering system of footbridges and well-crafted walkways along the river; a few Lone Stars and some excellent Mexican food helped quiet the emptiness and disconnection I felt in my soul. While it all made me feel better, it didn’t make me feel any more alive. I think I know how the Desert Fathers must have felt…

Tomorrow its a drive to Corpus Christi and then up to Austin for some beers, BBQ, and blues music. How my soul will handle it remains to be seen.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:28 | Comments Off on Reality Meets Expectations
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info