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Thursday, March 17, 2016

What you watch is watching you, Emily said.

"What you watch is watching you," Emily said. We are four friends who have driven for days to witness this arrival of sacred water through towering walls of stone, the Rio Grande's passage through Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. On one side of the canyon is Mexico, on the other the United States. The sky, the currents, the ravens and the sun at Santa Elena pay no mind to the tempest over border walls.There are two beside each other guarding the river's passage and they were there before nations, conquistadores, first nations peoples or even languages. The politician's debates over immigration seem a million miles away.

Santa Elena Canyon's walls tell a story written by time and nature. Our eyes take in with wonder the signature of the river's steady coursing through silent centuries. We admire the sculptures created by earthquakes, the sharp upheavals from ancient eras. In our mind's eye we imagine the torrents of fiery rivers that flowed along the same canyon arms unfolding now as water, peaceful as a sigh

We humans are recent immigrants to this theater stage. Our journeys end, like everything, is uncertain. I imagine that as we stand on the gravel banks in prayerful awe, these walls of rock and timeless water currents without eyes or expression watch our ant-like antics along its skirt hem. They see us as we skip rocks and test the waters with bare feet or float upon its surface from upstream in canoes to where the river delivers its riders.  

We have traveled far to stand here and stop, like sudden Columbuses, at the ready. We look up and down the canvas, discovering what has always been. All the while, we are observed in the bouncing light by the meeting of rock, sky, and water, as just another deer or dinosaur come to drink that which sustains