VIA SAN PEDRO. It’s not exactly the Camino Real, but the intersection’s beautiful. A relatively short road on the map, it’s the crucial linker between the white rocks of Blanco and Mission Viva la Vida. Panther, Elm, Mud, Longs, and Perrin-Beitel Creeks, all wavering branches of the Salado fan burbling Hossana at the interface of Highlanders and Coastal Br’er. As choreographed with skyward procession, these sisters (plus others) sculpt kindred vales from mountains from bedrock, between San Antonio’s Lion Gate west and Bison Gate to the east. Saint Pedro shadows the 1st order fourth finger in cardinal fashion, binding concentric rings on the overland way. Meeting Saint Peter here is to walk among Los Olmos – the elms.
The Spring at Central Park is a jewel along the King’s Highway on the other hand. Eastward, it traces the hem of the Balcones Escarpment, granting mezzanine views of old buffalo country cottage-to-cabin. These are desert margins even today, where a traveler’s parched bota is graciously renewed at Comal, Hueco, San Marcos, or Barton Springs, between Texas’ most stately rivers. There’s a little church there too en la Camina, lighting the path just beyond Lookout Hill. Welcoming all travelers she ushers safe passage across Llano Estacado of the Salado-Cibolo divide. Together, River City’s creeks and roads weave a familial dream catcher. Before word of the paseo and intersection spread ’round, there must have been a dream.
Those are some of the places we visited this rainy season: low water crossings, springs, culverts, and parks. They’re so animated after the storm, and because of his supernatural imagination, young Valero continued our adventure afterward in an ongoing virtual reality daydream he calls “Valdemeer”. Valero’s my nephew, born with a unique brain configuration called Agenesis of the Corpus Collusum. He enjoys connecting the dots after new adventures, which is super-elastic neuroplastic, if not just plain fun for everyone.
“We’re walking the rest of the way to the Alamo now, then we ride the bus back home, okay?” he informed us. 🙂
“Okay, but that’s a 16 hour day!” I thought, wondering if this was still a game or not … dialing up times and distances on MapQuest.
We continued pretending but also made a deal. “How about we ride the bus BOTH ways and stop by that transfer terminal you like so much, what do you think about that? Keep brainstorming and we’ll collaborate on Wednesday.” His daydream was becoming lucid, interactive reality, wow!
On Thursday morning we agreed to ride the SAN PEDRO EXPRESS, SAN PEDRO FREQUENT, and a BLANCO SKIP, just to see what different types of buses there were. Midway, we went for a $14.50 refund at the Bus depot, walked the Mexican Market & Main Plaza esplanades, toured the Alamo chapel, and dined @ Casa Rio on the Riverwalk. We even peeked inside San Fernando Cathedral & Saint Joseph’s chapel too, just to keep from wondering “why we’d never done that before?” What an eventful day, phew!
After lunch he conceded, “I’m ready to go home now.”
“Me too,” I sighed, though we actually had two more unplanned visits in queue.
At the Community College, we saw the 1986 Shuttle Disaster Memorial at the Scobee Planetarium, the office where his grandfather taught Chemistry, and he got the opportunity to see his uncle cry.
“I thought you were over that?”
Across the boulevard we explored San Pedro Park, got advice from a homeless man, and at day’s close, after riding five buses on three routes with four transfers, our final connection was pulled over by a policeman looking for the nefarious “Backpack Nabber”. I truly thought THAT would have been Valero’s highlight, but his overarching reflection was actually:
“Lots of people helped us – that was kind of the theme of the day, right?”
I’m so glad we braved this odyssey, it was epic.
“the greatest debt” – Luke 7:43
— — —
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Acoustic: One Day
Artist: Matisyahu, Light (2008)