Heat Wave…

In recent days, temperatures here in Fallbrook have reached into the mid-to-high 90s, and even into the 100s, though yesterday we entered a cooling trend. Seems like there’s a lot of hot going around beyond Fallbrook too. Everywhere that it’s summer right now, my friends, family, and acquaintances are talking about — complaining about an exceptionally warm summer.

It’s hot out. Rumor has it, the globe is getting warmer.

I’m about to complete the book The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea. It is among the most humbling books I’ve ever read or listened to.

Despite that it’s beautifully written — lyrical even, it’s a very hard book to take on. The Devil’s Highway is the detailed account of the Wellton 14 or the Yuma 26, depending on who you ask — the dozen or more men who died in May of 2001 attempting to cross the border from Mexico and United States.

Urrea’s descriptions in the accounting of this story are detailed and harsh. He was granted liberal access to personnel, records, and information involved with the tragedy, and uses that information to share what is probably the most accurate picture of what is both a tragedy and a modern mystery.

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So Wednesday, when I was riding my bike on a 100° day, exerting myself and exhausting myself, I was thinking quite a bit about the mid-day heat, though I wasn’t complaining about it. I was thinking about the walkers — those lost me walking in circles under the hot desert sun for several days trying to get into this country for a better life, and what they were willing to do to get here.

My life, with all its difficulties, stresses, and frustrations, is incredibly easy, if not too rewarding nor fulfilling. I kept thinking about that as I was pedaling through the heat and humidity — about how good I have it, and contemplating whether I really appreciate any of it in the ways that I should.

Yup, the world is getting hotter, in physical climate and in social climates.

This is the hottest early summer that I can remember here in Fallbrook, and of course the temptation is to complain about the heat — nature’s beat down, but I can’t and I won’t.

I have access to water, shade, air-conditioning, and ice. None of the 14 walkers who died in that tragedy had any of that as they roamed through the desert walking themselves to death in the heat in search of a better life. But the truth is, they didn’t have any of that before they left home.

I believe in border security. I believe in legal immigration. I believe in working hard to do things in the proper way.

However, when I see what people are willing to do — what they are willing to risk in order to get to a place where they think they might have a better life, I completely understand. I share this, not to discuss immigration, not at all. I share this, for everyone who’s complaining about the heat, to keep it all in perspective.

A little food for thought on a hot summer’s day… Jhciacb

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Immigrant Song…

I live in a town with a large immigrant culture. Many come from Central America, and Mexico. Most of the immigrants I have come to know here are among the hardest working, and most humble people I know. I find them more inspiring than I do professional athletes or even astronauts. They also tend to be reverent, and respectful.

When I cross paths with, or interact with the local immigrant culture, they are often on bicycle or on foot en-route to their long days of picking fruit or working elsewhere in agriculture. I have employed several through the years for both short, and long-term work.

There are many commonalities I have observed with them as a collective, chief among them is that I am almost always met with a smile, and a greeting. Most often their shirts are tucked in, they say please and thank you to everything that moves, and they value a dollar – not covet it. From most of them, I sense something genuine.

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Among the immigrant population here, there seems to be no real sense of resentment that they are on foot or on bike rather than a Lexus. I feel a genuine sense of gratitude from the immigrant culture that a dog might also have, but a wealthy neighbor probably doesn’t.

Immigrants, I believe, sense and appreciate opportunity far better than most of us, having often sprung from more stark beginnings. Many I have known see little use for even a lunch break.I believe living in this community, with its high concentration of immigrants, has inspired me to live a more humble, and harder working life. I am grateful that I have a chance to interface with these inspirational people most every day of my life… Jhciacb

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