A fieldtrip. Sounds great to me, I thought. A chance to get off campus and see interesting landscapes with my fellow classmates. A perfect opportunity to explore, learn, communicate, escape and enjoy.
Day 2, First stop. U.S./Mexico Border. State Beach.
Key word: UNDERESTIMATED.
Loud helicopters circling the area, nonstop. An in depth and informal speech regarding the local ecosystem. A lecture on contaminated mud. Human excrement. WATCH OUT! A careful and calculated walk to the water, one mile. Beautiful native and invasive species of plants spread throughout the sandy textured soil, hugging my surroundings. The sun, hiding. The breeze, briskly blowing. The salt, infiltrating my nostrils. I am not even to the border yet and I am flooded with thoughts, images and emotions. I see the water, amazing, beautiful, moving (in more ways than one). Tainted. Feces. Upsetting. The sand compressing under my heavy thoughts and feet, every step until I reach the first fence. One half mile. A fence? A gate? A limit? A barrier? An object to control? What am I looking at? This is no longer reading as an object to me, this is heavy and overwhelming. I continue walking to the second larger, thicker, stronger gate. GET BACK, CANNOT TOUCH, NOT ALLOWED! Border patrol is on us, and fast. I recede back to the first. I observe people on the other side. I try to quickly compare my day with theirs. My experiences, opportunities, limits and theirs. My day on one side of the border and theirs. I feel lucky, embarrassed, confused, humble, mad, disgust, pity, caution, rebellion, disheartened, provoked and sympathetic. I feel overwhelmed. I would not consider myself a naive person, and I am usually not an emotional one either, but I am sensitive. I do feel. I touch the rusty chain link fence and allow myself to have a final absorption moment of my surroundings and senses, and then I shut down. I will not be able to process all of this today, I know myself better than to assume I can. It was a heavy experience, and I will allow myself time. I underestimated my day.