Saturday, November 01, 2008

Juarez Reflection: I Saw A Storm...

I saw a storm. It was not at a distance, and its green hue shaded everything. I think, if I were to have focused on it, it would have been violent and tumultuous. I would imagine it in a snapshot, and there would be a young woman shivering in its midst, gripping her arms as she huddles into herself trying to find protection from the cold. Her hair would have been slowly dancing like a young virgin upon a pagan altar, and my entire being would have felt a cold shiver of upheaval, rebellion, in the dark presence of this storm. But, this is not the terror that haunts this dream. This is not the terror that stalks me even in the daylight…

Three men descend, resolved, from the dusty Mexican hill. An older man sits with his hands in his lap, enjoying a cigarette, letting his taped cane rest against his crooked knee, and his eyes are shifting slowly like the dangling rain clouds of a summer prairie storm; like a caged beast, hoping to break free his cast iron chains to dine a succulent jugular. My eyes wander back to the three men, and the blue bandana that one of them wears, sears into my mind. I turn to my companion in the truck to continue our chat. We have just pulled up, in the newest truck of our fleet, to the bottom of our hill in the impoverished landscape of the Juarez barrio. My mind is clouded by the warnings of my bias; I try to quiet the stereotypes in my mind, convincing my psyche to let go of the initial negative thoughts I had of the three men; I try to find the grace with which my Father views them – inviting them to dine on the supple Eucharist feast. I have only a moment to transgress these thoughts before the blue bandana blinds my vision as he flings open the cracked door of my traveling companion. He makes certain to cock the handgun he is pointing at us as he screams in Spanish for us to exit the vehicle. A hand seizes my wrist as one of the three opens my door to usher me out.

My companion and I sit dumbfounded breathing the carbon-monoxide of our truck as it speeds away. We head up the hill slowly as we try to catch our breath. The old man sits grinning and silent. He catches our eye and nods as the flash in his eye mimics the fierce tempest within him; there is a hole in the fence and this beast shakes free his chains to feast.

The harsh dry air, filled with that satiating dust, sears my lungs as the passing light of the bright and brilliant day gleams out from the setting sun. Time fades as the dark radiance of the blue bandana sets itself through terror into my psyche, and my spirit longs for the time when the tapping of my heart could find a peaceful tune of pattering rain; in which this fear would pass and it could once more see a stilled portrait of death and smile.

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