I’m on pins and needles today monitoring Dana’s progress on the long drive from Minnesota to West Texas.
Dana, as you know, is the Redemption Project’s legal researcher, and she, her husband Jon, and their four dogs are relocating here close to Estrella Vista–”home” as they have been calling it.
They’re taking a great leap of faith. Neither of them has ever been here before and all they know of it is what they’ve read in the Diary, inferred from conversations with me, or otherwise learned from their research. I’ve done my best to discourage them.
Nevertheless, they are convinced this place is the answer to all their yearnings and prayers. It has certainly been so for me, but the Big Bend is not for everybody.
As I have told Dana time and again, lots of people relocate here with dreams of living an idyllic existence on the desert, and more often than not they learn that the appeal of the place was all in their heads. Most eventually retreat back to the city (or wherever) with tails tucked between their legs. Like bones bleaching in the sun, the desert is littered with the detritus of people’s abandoned dreams.
The first people to quit are the ones who can’t make it without a Walmart and shopping centers nearby. The next ones are those who can’t make it without decent doctors and hospitals. The next ones to go are those whose families never visit, whose grandchildren are growing up without them. The next ones are those whose marriages and relationships break up and whose lives disintegrate because of alcohol or drugs or both and more. The last to go are the dead.
Dana insists she knows what she is doing. “I’ve lived in the desert before,” she says. Yes, I reply, but never as far from “civilization” as here. The hardest thing in the first place is just getting here. This is the proverbial end-of-the-road. And then, after you’ve settled in, you’ve got to survive.
Dana is still trying to get here. This morning her first-thing-in-the-morning check-in didn’t happen until almost noon. Their U-Haul truck had broken down in Missouri and it took six hours for the repairman to even arrive. Dana vowed they were going to keep pressing on through nonstop, but by evening she sent a message that they had accepted my advice and checked into a motel to recover for the night. That’s good.
She didn’t say how far they’d gotten. My guess is they won’t arrive until the day after tomorrow. They’ll probably all be walking wounded by then.
And then, hard as their journey has been, reality will set in.
Groove of the Day