Reflections in the River

Reads: 10  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

The calm and satin luster of the flowing river betrays the currents that run deep and violent beneath the surface of the water. How strange to stand along the river bank and look beyond the sunset. The reflections in the river ever changing and dissolving with the gentle waves that wash away the images that seemed to float above the fray below.

REFLECTIONS IN THE RIVER

By Al Garcia

The calm and satin luster of the flowing river betrays the currents that run deep and violent beneath the surface of the water.  How strange to stand along the river bank and look beyond the sunset.  The reflections in the river ever changing and dissolving with the gentle waves that wash away the images that seemed to float above the fray below. 

How many times have I stood and watched as the waters rise and ebb, like the breathing of a living being, trashing and flailing before fading into nothingness?  How many times have I stood and looked beyond the river bank across from me and seen the solitary stares of disillusioned faces and disenchanted souls looking back at me in wonder and in fear?  So close, and yet so far, they seem to say, with eyes that glisten in the sun.  And I wave and they wave back, and then they turn away and begin to amble back to shattered dreams and hopeless lives, withering and shriveling beneath the sweltering sun and the suffocating poverty that slowly defeats and crushes their human spirit and instinctual hunger for survival.

I felt I was immune to the hardship and distress of abject poverty and need.  I felt myself to be beyond the need to care, because all I had to do was walk away from the river bank and forget the sights and sounds of the wretchedness of human hardship and indigence.  But I have a heart, a mind and a soul.  And I wonder, what it must be like to want to live and thrive without the shackles, manacles or chains of circumstance.  What it must be like to be made to grovel, crawl and beg to simply breath the air that will restore the dignity and pride that was meant to be.  And I thought I was immune on this side of the river bank, but as a man with roots that touch the land and heart of those now seeking to be free, I cannot simply look away or walk away. 

I gaze in awe at the courage and tenacity of those that stand along the river’s edge -- children in their parents’ arms, a mixture of exhaustion and defeat in their sunken and listless eyes.  And deep down inside I feel a hollowness and emptiness where once my heart had been.  For I cannot begin to understand how we could close our hearts, our minds and our border to those that only seek to live in dignity and pride.  And I weep for the loss of our humanity.  Where once I had seen reflections in the river – reflections of promise and hope – now I only see a bleakness and a blackness that reflects the darkened hearts of those that have betrayed the legacy of a nation. 

The worst of all has been the duplicity and deceit of those that share the blood and tears of those that only seek to walk upright and proud.  It is beyond my comprehension to attempt to understand why members of my family, brown and proud and noble, with roots that cross the Rio Grande, now turn their heads and close their hearts and join the ranks of those that seek to build a wall to hide behind.  The sad and depressing reality of their apathy against their heritage and their roots is that they and others like them had already built a wall around their hearts long before the rhetoric of hate against their ancestors and their culture ever came to be.  How quickly they have forgotten their parents and grandparents who found their way across the Rio Grande, because they too once had a dream.  They too did not speak or understand English.  They too came across the Rio Grande with only their dignity and decency and a dream.  Had this attitude of hate, exclusion and rejection existed along the Rio Grande many years ago, many of our grandparents or even parents may never have been allowed to settle the lands and farms and ranches along the Rio Grande.  And their children, now adults (you and me), would be standing along the river bank, looking across in envy -- dreaming of a chance to break our bonds of abject poverty and conflict, and live like men are supposed to live – free, safe and proud -- in the promised land beyond the Rio Grande.

If only these Mexican-Americans, children of once dreamers and settlers who found their way to the lower Rio Grande Valley, could comprehend their heritage and their legacy.  If only they could see their reflections in the river and the beauty and the majesty, beyond the optics and the rhetoric of hate-filled minds and hearts.  If only.

Reflections in the river, revealing dreams that flow and grow in the hearts and souls of all who strive to thrive, despite the man-made walls of wire, of stone and of hate-filled hearts.


Submitted: May 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

Other Content by A.Garcia

Essay / Editorial and Opinion