Peace in the Desert
Tonight I sat on my back porch to enjoy the night air and the quiet of the desert. From my backyard, there are very few lights: I can see the blinking red light of the radio tower a few miles to the east, the faint yellow light from the dump, the stars, and the eery glow from the desert in front of me. It is peaceful, beautiful even.
I began to think about the many people crossing the desert tonight. The families trying to reach loved ones, the young men trying to make a life for their family, and the young people like myself trying to start anew. It’s crazy to think that the desert, a place of such beauty for me, can also be the symbol of struggle and hope for others. It’s often hard for someone like me to really understand the struggle of migrants, but living so close to untamed wilderness can bring it closer to home.
Today I spent some time in Nogales, Sonora. This border town is often the first place deported crossers come after spending time in detention and losing the battle to come to the States. At El Comedor where we served breakfast, so many were grateful to see a smiling face and receive a hot meal. No one was outwardly bitter, no one expressed anger. One young man joked that he would visit me in Sahuarita the next time he crossed. Many migrants take two or three trips through the desert before they successfully cross.
I thought about the many times I lost hope in my own future, the times I felt helpless and alone. It was exciting to see so many hopeful people but also sad to know that so many felt their hope relied on coming to a country that can be so hostile.
I wouldn’t say I had an epiphany tonight, but I did feel peace in the desert as I sipped on a glass of wine and unwound from the day. It isn’t hard to offer others hospitality and kindness, but it can be hard to know how much we as Americans take for granted.
I think I’ll be spending more time on my back porch. The fence of my backyard still separates me from the desert, but I most certainly feel closer to it all there. Perhaps my words cannot make these realities more reachable for others, but I know I feel more connected to the fight I am working to support here.