I wanted to visit my hometown during our birthday month so August and I embarked on a mini, five hour road trip together. It was the best road trip I have ever taken. She was an enthusiastic companion and during the whole drive pointed out things I would have missed. There was a tremendous cloud that hung to the left of us as we drove through the small towns miles and miles apart. It was a massive, pink cloud with straight lines and right angles. A rectangle with a foamy top. It appeared an hour before sunset while we were on Highway 90.
"Take a picture, Mommy, take a picture, take a picture of the big cloud!", she kept squealing. I couldn't stop because I wanted to beat the deer. There was no place to stop, it was a two lane highway with no real shoulder. I wanted to stop and just watch it with her until the sun left the day. Instead I told her to take a picture with her eyes, put it in her head and when she closed her eyes, she'd see it again. She tried it out and said she was able to see it. A week later and she brought it up again, how she could still see it when she closed her eyes. It was one of the few things in life I didn't want to photograph because I didn't think I could capture it properly. I like that we can both see it if we close our eyes.
We sang while we drove, taking turns, mostly show tunes. We listened to August's favorite CD's over and over: Taylor Swift's 1989 and the OST to Frozen. I have all sorts of stamina. By the end of the trip both had been deconstructed and took on profound meaning for me.
We celebrated entering new towns and spotted large birds of prey. Once we entered Del Rio it was dark and August said,"Mommy, I'm scared of the sky." I looked up and saw only millions of bright stars. Only in Del Rio have I seen them that close and bright. Then August said,"The sky is so dark it scares me. It scares the stars too." The sky did appear heavy and to weigh down. I still think it is the mot beautiful sky I have ever seen.
I told her, this is where I was born. It's been four years since I had seen the sights along Highway 90 in the spring or since I spent my birthday at my mother's house. I was giddy and excited to be back. August and my mother danced to cumbias way past her bedtime and I felt a calmness like no other.
We spent the week doing all those things I love doing in my town, seeing those places that have appeared in my dreams over and over for decades. While I didn't think I needed to get out of the city, I couldn't help but feel recharged driving down that highway. The place always fuels my creativity and inspires all sorts of dreamy thoughts.
There is pull towards Del Rio, it's always been there. The town seemed to stop calling me for awhile, but once there I felt it and wanted to stay despite it being extremely impractical. Leaving town I thought of all the drives I took with my Granpo in the same direction. I still felt those old desires to become a goat herder and photograph all the little homes in San Felipe...the fig trees, the quiet main street, old mansions, my Granmo's clothesline.
As I passed the entrances to ranches all along the highway and saw those fallen, old structures fall some more, I realized, I've been watching them die for years and years. There is a curious sadness all along that highway but it was overshadowed this time by a little girl singing happily in her carseat. With all the recent rain, Highway 90 has never looked greener.