Border Incident #1

With the Rio Grande River between us

One of the articles in The Foundations Of Peace (IC#4)
Originally published in Autumn 1983 on page 17
Copyright (c)1983, 1997 by Context Institute

I LOOK ACROSS the shallow, muddy waters of the Rio Grande River into Mexico. Right here, in this spot, it looks exactly like the US of A. Our blended skies are a uniform, intense blue. On both sides, grasses and pebbly beaches meet the flowing water. A Mexican boy rides by on a horse and waves to me. We are so much closer in reality than, for example, a Montana rancher and I are at this moment. My allegiance, however, leans subtly northward, giving concreteness to an imaginary line called the border. In the patchwork thought system I’ve seamed together out of inherited scraps of pleasing ideas and fearful sensings, I fancy myself to be kin with that rancher and only distantly related to this boy just 100 yards away. Affections are like that – each layer of attachment a border between me and you, us and them. What use is space travel if it’s merely fear of strangers writ large across the solar system, the galaxy, the universe. In infinity we’d just find, as Pogo says, that we have met the enemy and it is us. Yet, in this moment, there are no borders – and I wave back.

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