Monday, July 20, 2009

My Oasis

The desert is much greener than I imagined. Everywhere that I look around here there are trees, flowers and prairies. There is a cool breeze blowing off of the Amistad Reservoir, and the cool morning air is filled with the calls of ducks, cranes, and song birds. Everything is peaceful here, and though it is not quiet, every sound that I hear, the rustle of leaves blowing in the breeze, the buzz of insects, the gurgles of water disturbed by fishes, all of these things are restful.

The campground is empty except for day users. I keep expecting to look up and see the deer that I photographed yesterday evening. Aside from those deer and jack rabbits, I have not seen any large animals near the campground. That is probably a good thing, because I tried to sleep outside on a park bench for several hours last night. It took almost no effort to build a fire in these conditions, and once I had a decent little blaze going, I crawled onto my sleeping pad on one of the park benches and slept very poorly for several hours. Finally around midnight I moved back to the truck, which is slightly more level than the park bench, and managed to sleep well through the entire night.

I am amazed by the natural beauty of this place. This morning, I found a secluded area along the edge of the lake where I could strip down and take a bath in the crystal clear waters, while fish swam past my ankles. This area stands in such sharp contrast to San Antonio.

San Antonio is a large urban sprawl, not so spread out as Houston, with a laid back attitude and a beautiful downtown. Much of the east and west side of San Antonio is extremely poor, and gang life is a reality in these areas. The Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio is the opposite of the east and west sides. The Riverwalk is a beautifully constructed and landscaped canal, lined with restaurants, shopping centers, fountains and waterfalls. Everyone is nicely, though sometimes scantily, dressed, and you can feel the money being spent

Just off of the Riverwalk is the Alamo, or what is left of it. Much of the Alamo property was bought and turned into streets and buildings a long time ago. Today you can still see the church, as well as several other buildings and walls that are nearby. What amazes me about the Alamo today is that, in typical Texas fashion, the park/museum is free to the public and is maintained entirely by donations and sales from the gift shop.

I really love Texas, not for the heat or the dry flat scenery, but for the people, for the belief that if we can do it ourselves we should, for the freedom to keep arms and defend your home, for the pride which Texans hold for their state and for themselves. There is something very attractive about that. It may not be the most Christian attitude, we are called to be humble and help each other, but it is still an attitude that I can really respect.


dabishop said...

What's going on in that second bird picture? How long did it stay up like that?
I agree with you about Texas, by the way, though I also like the oppressively hot weather.

Andrew Bishop said...

I dont know what it was doing but it stood like that off and on for several minutes. It stood for about 30 seconds at a time.

Anna Grace said...

Ben doesn't understand exactly, I don't think. But I love Texas, too. To me it just kinda feels like a second home, even though I was really young when we lived there.