Leaving Big Bend for home
Our time in Big Bend always seems too short. I stand on the door stoop in my nightgown and bare feet—our noisy neighbors left yesterday and it is quiet and still. The sun is just peeking over the edge of the mountains and casts a shimmery orange glow. It is chilly, though, and I hustle back in for fresh hot coffee. We pack up what is left of our food stores, re-stuff the sleeping bags, and put everything back into the truck. I’m not sure why stuff seems to take up more room on the way home.
Our plan was to eat breakfast at one of the local diners but we discovered that it was closed. We refuel, I leave my boots—which constantly pinched the toes of my right foot as a gift for someone unknown to me—I had noticed a pile of ‘free things’ there the day before with only a few tattered books remaining. We drive to Alpine where we ate breakfast at one of those old diners that resembled a train car. The food was plentiful and served with a smile, particularly the man with the coffee pot who ‘heated up’ my cup at least four times.
It is a long drive back to Beaumont, the weather appearing dismal and gray during the entire trip. Although we listened to Dracula on the way back, I couldn’t help thinking about Big Bend and the people we had met there.
Big Bend is about solitude and existing with nature. Unlike other parts of the world where one could imagine with some careful planning a somewhat comfortable living off the land, here life is a sometime thing and living on the edge. Water is precious and scarce but when it rains, the arroyos fill with water at an alarming and devastating rate with debris flung high in the trees along their banks. The people are reminiscent of the sixties, the men have buzz-cuts or rarely see a barber. The women either have long hair tied back or short boy style haircuts. Their faces appear weather-worn; clothing is practical and well-worn. Although the decorating style is a bizarre blend of kitsch with a nod to southwest, Betty Boop and old wringer washing machine tubs used as planters being particularly popular, I saw very little litter anywhere.
It is indeed a unique spot; I look forward to returning again—maybe at a slightly different time of year but not during spring break.