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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The least of these...

I wait to leave the welcome center to get on the road until the sun is descending closer to the mountain tops and the wind has calmed a little. The center has closed and the internet no longer works. I look around for the suffering stranger and am relieved to see he is no longer around - at least that I can see.

I take off into the sunset, marveling once again at the majestic, snow-tipped mountains and the great expanse of the Mother unfolding all around me.

And then, not a mile or two onto the highway, I see a figure trudging along the shoulder, brown hair flopping in time to his stumbling steps, faded grey/green paisley material blowing out behind him like a final wave goodbye.

I wonder how many people steel their hearts to pass him, as I steel mine.

13 13 13 years to write...

Interstate 40 thru the northern panhandle of texas and on into New Mexico is a desolate, wide open, hot and windy land with trees as infrequent as buildings. Cows abound and some antelope, horses and even cowboys on horses rounding up those cows.

It is an unforgiving land here that I normally love. The horizon stretches so far there's no end, the sky is so humongous and beautiful and limitless, the ruggedness inspiring wild and inspiring.

Today, about 10 miles from the border, I see what looks like a man walking on the shoulder towards traffic on my side of the freeway, much too close to the sparse but speeding traffic. I look around for a stalled car but can’t see one. My first thought is wondering why he isn’t walking on the other side of the median and the nearly empty 2 lane frontage road, even less traveled.

I don’t stop when I see him but I do stop after I cross the border into New Mexico at the Welcome Center. I have to pump veggie oil into my main tank, download another audio book, rest and see if I can invite any tRumpers to talk with me.

Instead, I see this young man, hobbling around the reddish beige walls of the center. He is white but severely sunburned on his arms, face, neck – any part of his white skin that’s been exposed to the harsh sun and wind.

His arms are bright red and peeling in huge sheets of damaged skin. He pulls back the short sleeve of his t-shirt to reveal death-white skin of his upper arms and shoulder. His bottom lip has two black gashes where the soft tissue has gaped and then filled with blood.

It hurts to look at him.

His feet are swollen and bare, toes bent and huge as if he’s a 90 year old man with severe arthritis, dried blood mingled with dirt peeking out beneath the strings from frayed cuffs of his baggy jeans. He has a small backpack that looks almost new hanging off his shoulders and some kind of faded grey-green paisley material looped from the straps, hanging to the backs of his knees.

His arms are folded tightly over his chest as he asks me for a cigarette. I ask him if he’s okay as he nods, his eyes meeting mine for the first time, frightfully searching my face. I tell him he doesn’t look okay.

He stares quickly over my right shoulder, confides that he’s lived the worse life ever, the most horrible things have happened to him, and my first thought is a condescending one as I think of the Syrians murdered today by u.s. drones, challenging him in my mind, as Somalia and Afghanistan and the Black men on death row in Arkansas flash thru my mind, and then, the gashes on his lips begin to ooze blood & puss as he says he has had to endure things no human should have to endure.

And I believe he must have had horrific things happen to him and tell him how sorry I am. I ask him if I can do anything for him. He wants me to read something, this book he has written, that has taken him 13 years to write, and as he repeats the 13, 13, 13, I think about the documentary "13". He rattles on, incomprehensible to me about this vitally important work and where I can find it on the internet.

He's written a book and it has taken so long and so much out of him, and he thinks I need to read it. I nod, not exactly agreeing, but my concerned about his mental health increasing, as well as his physical well-being.

He peers at my license plate and he tells me he wants a ride to California - that I won’t give him.

He tells me the Texas police picked him up in Texas and brought him here over the border and I realize he's the same person I saw walking east (not towards California) along side the freeway. I know if he was Black, the police probably would have taken him to jail or worse. Convenient for the police to deposit him on the other side of the border, eliminating Texan responsibility and dumping him onto New Mexico.

I go inside the center and ask the womyn there to call someone to help him. They tell me there is no one. I ask in the whole state of New Mexico?

I start looking on the internet, make a few phone calls – I try the religious people and social services. There are no homeless shelters in Tucumcari, which we are about 40 miles from. The religious people I got a hold of said they were closed today. Social services had no phone number but a web site where the links didn’t work.

I consider asking truckers who are idling on the truck side of the lot if they can give him a lift. I see him approaching people, some stopping in their tracks to listen or talk to him and I hold my breath hoping they will be the ones, others scurrying away into the clean coolness of the center.

Tourists, mostly white, mostly appearing affluent, mostly from other states, mostly retired couples, mostly not seeing or not caring about helping this tragic fellow, human beings that could in the very least share money if not food or even a little ride.

And I remember in the old days, the people protesting "when did I not feed you, or give you clothes, or shelter?" and I'm so glad I'm not a christian.

This young man will probably end up in jail or dead or definitely suffering more. And he's a white guy and doesn't even have racism to deal with on top of everything else.