3,480 Miles West

Lines from the car.

Leaving Fort Worth, Texas

I don't think I'll stop saying y'all, and I will always look for the reggaeton radio station, and the trumpet solo in a mariachi solo will always give me chills. 

Davis Mountain State Park, West Texas

If I were an artist, I would paint the Davis Mountains simply, like a Rothko. I'd scrape undulating lines of blue, green, and purple, blurring the boundaries, adding in only curves. I'd show the painting at a gallery where the only light comes from fireflies. 

El Paso, Texas

The mountains stand sentry over a valley that is neither Mexico nor the United States, just a valley, houses on streets and restaurants with neon signs and tire shops and Target. The border is fluid here, where people work in Juarez and live in El Paso, work in El Paso and live in Juarez. Until Donald Trump promised more deportations, the community trusted the police. 

Somewhere past Santa Fe, New Mexico

The road beyond Santa Fe feels like a shuttle to a place that got forgotten on an American trip to "progress." There's a NASA research stations and there are so many trailer homes. 

The road beyond Santa Fe is called the Paso Real, the royal road. Many small roadside crosses mark its edges, crosses festooned with flowers and grains and faded photographs. Monuments to roadside dead, memorials for unsolved murders of native women and Latino men. Along the Paso Real, a freckled guy in a Walmart parking lot scammed me for cig money, and then there were the most magnificent mountains I've ever seen. 

Boulder, Utah

You turn brown in the canyons of Southern Utah, toasted by the sun and reflective of the red and gold and purple rock. You stand on top of a canyon rim and feel like you're seeing the progression of time. You stand at the bottom of a rock wall with a row of petroglyphs and feel very small.