Why do we leave Laredo?

Two of my best friends from high school live in Boston and Washington D.C. We graduated from St. Augustine High School in 2009, and since then, they never came back to live in Laredo. At 25, I am lumped into the “millennial” generation. I realize it would be irresponsible to speak for my entire generation, but what I can say, is that almost my entire graduating class of 126 students lives outside Laredo. I hope that my insight can shed a sliver of light on this phenomenon.

The rest of the way

When I turned fifty I understood how cars feel when their warranties expire. If cars feel anything when their warranties expire. On December 9, 2015, two months after my fiftieth birthday, I ended up in the hospital with a kidney infarction. I felt slightly upset — and also slightly betrayed — that the odometer had barely rolled over and a major system went on the blink. But it did, and there I was, for four days, mostly reading and watching TV between nurses’ visits to draw blood, take my blood pressure, and check the heart monitor hanging around my neck.

Tales of border survival are best told by artists

This post was originally published in Trace of Echoes. The Greek philosopher and teacher Aristotle once said, “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation, rather than upon mere survival.”

Laredo is a rich environment for that sentiment, because issues of survival explode in front of us every single day. Harsh geographic and political circumstances along with the demoralizing violence of poverty confront large numbers of our neighbors. The river swallows the dreams of those seeking a new world, while the appetites of drug users way beyond the border checkpoint fuel a dependence on drugs and the violence they breed. Amid this constant border reminder of how important it is to survive, there is a beckoning to the awareness and contemplation encouraged by Aristotle.