Saturday, July 5, 2008

Week 4 Viviana

Ghosts haunt the desert.

Desert spirits of a dark and mysterious nature have always traveled these trails...those who worship desert gods know them to favor retribution over the tender dove of forgiveness.
-Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil's Highway

We walked a dry, rocky trail. The sun poured over us. We could hear the ambient insect drone of a hot summer day; the harsh shuffling of our feet against the desert ground. Sand and rocks. Socks. Two backpacks. Floral women's shoes. Small remnants of human life lining the barren trails.

I watched the ground intently as I walked back, afraid of the thorns and fire ants below my feet.

Yellow sand, brown rocks, gray rocks.

Yellow sand, brown rocks, gray rocks.

Something glimmered. We stopped. A ray of gold light shot up from the sand. Something metallic was lodged between the rocks. We reached down and pulled. A cross. A beautiful rosary buried in the sand. I gently wrapped my hand around it, running my fingers over the small gold figure of Jesus. This was someone's companion, someone's protector. Someone prayed with this rosary. It was precious to someone. Sacred to someone. And now it was in my hand.

I'm still holding on to it. I'm troubled by the privilege of assigning value to someone's belongings. But I want to honor the migrant who owned this rosary; to celebrate the beauty of their humanity, the sorrow of their crossing.

They entered the gates of hell the moment they entered the unforgiving desert.

Fantasmas frecuentan el desierto.

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