Immigration Reform in the Cold

West from the Beckwith Ranch.

Looking west from Beckwith Ranch.

I’m always tickled when someone takes my thoughts and expresses them better than I can. For example, “Walking Alone in Late Winter,” a poem by Jane Kenyon, begins: How long the winter has lasted – like a Mahler / symphony, or an hour in the dentist’s chair… Perfect!

March 11, '14

March 11, ’14

This year winter has seemed the longest ever. But I see signs of spring. On March tenth, I saw two Bluebirds and my heart took-wing. The phrase “bluebird of happiness” flit through my mind.  On March eleventh, the first bud on my  Clivia plant, trumpeted open with fanfare. Slowly the greening grass peeks above the snow and shouts “Hello!”

Most mornings, regardless of the weather, my bright light comes over the airwaves. Today, the highlight of my morning was listening to Steve Inskeep who is audio-journaling his way east to west along the U.S.-Mexican boundary. “Borderland: Dispatches From the U.S. – Mexico Boundary” is bound to get you thinking. You can follow Inskeep’s trip on NPR Morning Edition. Today, Inskeep reported from Hidalgo, Texas where he watched the interception of 18 immigrants.

(At this point, my fingers hesitate and then halt above the keyboard. My mind jumps to last night’s dinner party and a discussion as to why we listen to the news. The key question seemed to be If we cannot personally affect international politics in Afghanistan, Syria and now the Crimea (to just name a few hotspots) what is the point of listening to the news? If the news is such a downer, why do we expose ourselves to such negativity? Aside from feeling powerless, what exactly do we get out of it?) No one had the definitive answer.

True, we cannot seem to broker any deals with our own nation, let alone foreign nations, but the “thinking” prompted by the issues is an end in itself.

Imagine a 2,000-mile long border between the United States and Mexico.

Imagine a 2,000-mile long border between the United States and Mexico.

Returning to the Steve Inskeep piece, two bits of information have stuck like sharp pebbles inside my shoe.. First, each mile of security fence averages $12,000,000 dollars. The amount of money is startling. Second, of the 18 immigrants detained in today’s report, one was pretty young: before the illegals could be moved to detention, the guards had to radio ahead for a car seat.

My mouth agape, I am left someplace between shelled and shocked in a cultural vacuum that threatens to suck me dry. The U.S. Border Patrol estimates that 6.5 million illegal aliens cross yearly. (Surely an inflated number?!!) Not all illegals come from Mexico. Many come from Central America; some come from Abroad. Many have travelled for months hoping to join family. Some come for work; others seek asylum. The risks are great. Swimming across the Rio Grande is the least of it. And don’t forget the parallel fences. Yet…  once they are here, the detainees in today’s story were held up by the lack of a child-friendly car seat.

How can I possibly reconcile a culture that insists on car seats for all infants and toddlers with a culture that cannot move ahead on immigration reform because doing so would affect the outcome of the mid-term elections?

Although I cannot personally solve foreign policy, immigration issues, and the Congressional impasse, I will continue to listen to the news… depressing as it is. When it’s time to go to the polls, I will hopefully have some thinking behind my vote.


About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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2 Responses to Immigration Reform in the Cold

  1. Ruth Steele says:


    OK, I have to take exception with Jane… Jane Kenyon, begins: How long the winter has lasted – like a Mahler / symphony, or an hour in the dentist’s chair… While I will admit that the length of Mahler’s symphonies is somewhat off-putting, and while it’s not at all hard to get lost in the endlessness of them, I must say that I’ve begun enjoying them more and more as I listen and begin to recognize melodies, themes, etc. I’m also reading Alma Mahler’s book of memories of Gustav. I might concede that his symphonies could be (lots of qualifiers here) like a (too) long winter, but an hour in a dentist’s chair, never!

    I’m appalled at the way our government has handled (or mis-handled) the “immigration problem.” I too will continue listening to the news, depressing as it is, (and listening to Mahler as well.)

    Thanks for your blog, always enjoyable and thought provoking.

  2. timeout2 says:

    You caught me, Ruth, as the saying goes, “with my pants down.” I took Jane Kenyon’s reference to heart without really knowing anything about Mahler (1860-1911) at all. So I’ve done a bit of homework. What I now know is that by 1897 Mahler was director of The Vienna Court Opera, During the Nazi era, his work was banned. Later he was affiliated with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler’s most popular symphonies are the Second, Third and Eighth, and his work influenced Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten. I listened to/watched a video of the University of California-Davis symphony and chorus performing the beginning of Mahler’s Second Symphony.

    I did not listen to the entire performance. I’m more of a Baroque girl – I favor less ambitious work with fewer musicians. As for Shostakovich and Britten – they are way too modern for me. I’m a small-town girl with small town tastes. I have a lot to learn. Thanks for reading.

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