Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What Started As A Travelogue...

As I write this on the morning of September 20th, we are on the last leg of our trip through the Texas panhandle, heading back to New Mexico, our home for less than a year so far. We left Cochiti Lake on August 30, with our ultimate destination being Provincetown, Massachusetts.

We spent a week in Connecticut visiting friends and family and tending to some business matters that we had left behind when we moved. Our Weimador Benni, got to spend time with his soulmate, a black Czechoslovakian Shepard named Katija back in Connecticut and it was quite delightful to see them reconnect and run through the woods playing the same games that they used to play.

The days in Provincetown were glorious. September weather on the Cape can be spectacular, barring a passing hurricane and the crowds have thinned out to where the beaches are nearly deserted and restaurants have open tables for dinner. Maybe the best part is that there are fewer rangers in the park so Benni got to swim in the ocean without being tethered to a leash and we got to soak up the sun on Boys’ Beach.

Eight solid days of driving through a large chunk of the United States - four days out, four days back.When we left New Mexico, one of the last things we did was to cover up our “gay” bumper stickers - the rainbow flag and the Equality symbol, a precaution we had never thought necessary before. But we would be driving through a country that now seems to have permission, not only to hate, but to express that hate openly and sometimes violently.

It is telling that my husband and I do not feel entirely comfortable in some of the flatter states. This is not a reflection on the relative safety of mountainous terrain versus flat lands but merely a way to avoid the red/blue labels that have become, I think, unjustly political, and uninformative.

It is just very sad that we feel uncomfortable at all - in parts of our own country - whether or not our discomfort is justified or whether we have reason to be apprehensive.

The eight days of driving through a slice of the USA is at least interesting, if not enlightening. States as diverse as New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are all part of this seemingly Divided and dis-United States. (And so much of it sadly littered with the debris of our collective and individual pursuit of happiness.)

I try to look at the inhabitants of the countryside as people with families, jobs, friends, gardens, cars, chores, loves, feelings, arguments, mortgages, bills, memories, possessions, ice cream, vacations, illnesses, tragedies, education, tooth-aches, sex-lives, picnics to go to, secrets, pets, and values, among all the other things that involve being human.

And I try to fathom how, given our common experience we have become so divided.

But I am not able to find a clue, an event, a reason, a single shared life experience that has divided us into camps and made this the reality we live in.

It sometimes seems as if there are two different human races on this planet.

I am beginning to think that there TRULY is something in our genes, in our DNA that compels us to take sides, to see reality through very different lenses, to interpret the world as either an exciting experiment or as something carved in stone.

Do some of us value and hold dear to what we know to the point of being afraid of anything different or new, or shades of gray, or ambiguity of any kind, and feel so threatened by the other?

Is it some inborn trait that makes others of us thrive on possibilities, ideas, change, growth, distrust of the status-quo or to see the black-white dichotomy as too limited and feel threatened by constraint?

Perhaps there is a real dichotomy that is not based on gender or color or sexual orientation or national origin.

Perhaps our genetic makeup has somehow sorted us into two separate but (dis)similar species.

Photos in no particular order:

1 comment:

Russ Manley said...

Nice pics, sounds like a fine trip.

I think it's default human nature to fear The Other, the Not-Our-Tribe people. Contrary to the lovely Rodgers and Hammerstein song, we do not have to be "carefully taught" to hate - it's instinctive. Pertinent example: you and I were both teased at a very young age by other young boys for being "girly" - long before any of us could rationally say why that was or was not "bad."

It's enlightenment and empathy that have to be "carefully taught" and nurtured, in my view. Also, I read once that less intelligence = less empathy, less ability to imagine what the other person feels.

But what do I know.


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