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  Texas : Feature : Columns : 'The View from Under the Bus'

Merry, Merry Everything

By Gael Montana
Local Contrarian and Tonsorial Artist
As the shadows lengthen time itself begins to pick up speed, rushing by and sneaking away before we notice.

Being in that old Chihuahuan Desert this fall evoked a sense of timelessness with its Spartan beauty and open space. That part of the world is an eternal mirror too large for our tiny minds to reflect upon, and in its vast beauty we are set free from our silly concerns and self-indulgences. Any and all man-made structures are mere lean-tos; the larger and more ostentatious they are the more insecure they appear. There are still places in the Big Bend where the soothing darkness is complete and restful hours can be spent feeling the heartbeat of the land, listening to the creatures that share its precious resources and one can be contentedly obscure. It's almost a lost concept yet I am grateful that it exists in its unconditional and unflinching beauty for us when we are ready to leave the theme park world of this new millennium & be real.

It seems that in the lifelong fascination of chasing our reflections in mirrors, window glass, water, anything that will offer up our likeness we have completely lost our perspective. When I was young I would travel to my Grandparents in Boerne for the Holidays from wherever we were living at the time. I remember the sensation of observing my face fly across the countryside in the reflection of the inside glass on that Greyhound, anticipating my Grandparents smiles, so happy to see me. Now we talk about 'Black Friday' when people land haymakers on one another in frantic search of the signature toy, game or whatever overpriced trinket the marketers have sold our children on. Before I-10 came along that was the day we walked for miles on Johns Road where there was simply no traffic to speak of, and enjoyed the migrating birds, the countryside going to sleep for winter. There came a fluttering in my insides when I got to the Hill Country that never went completely away. Now, it seems, judgment is harsh and quick, and it's hard to be a child in the discovery of life and nature's inner workings. No one wants their children to 'whittle until they know how', as Hondo Crouch used to say. For those days of sweet revelation when everyone was trusted and we shared our hearts and minds without prejudice, I am thankful.

After all, we don't so much disappear into the past as search out people, places and situations in general that accommodate our changing bodies and minds. The energy of life takes a more graceful embrace of us as we appreciate the value of the calm before that gathering storm. At least that's the way I see it, now that I have more purchase to look back yonder at that big wheel we all stand beneath. So many of my dear friends have passed and it's evident that sadness doesn't serve them or me. Having shared the time with them is the important thing. And it's not who you know but how they are served by knowing you that seems to matter, after all.

I am ever thankful for all your generous hearts and minds. Y'all take care of one another and treasure these good old days!


Copyright Gael Montana
'The View from Under the Bus'
December 2 , 2007 Column
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