Weekly Photo Challenge – Near and Far

This week’s challenge reminded me of the spot where I have been near to another place while in another respect, being very, very far from it.

border bridge at La Linda

Bridge to nowhere at La Linda, Texas.  This crossing point of the Rio Grande was closed in 1997 and was still closed when I was there in 2006.

In 2002, the other informal crossings of the Rio Grande in the Big Bend area were abruptly closed, resulting in a stretch of almost 400 miles (on the Texas side) with no legal crossing point.  (The Mexican side is mountainous and has fewer roads, so the distance to legal points of entrance is even further. )

Tourists from Michigan and Canada could no longer cross to ride burros and have some enchiladas and a cerveza in Mexico.  The Mexican villagers  in this sparsely populated area lost a major source of income, and the owners of the little stores on the Texas side lost regular customers.

La Linda church

Near enough to walk to, but unreachable.

walking sticks on the Rio Grande

Craftsmen cross illegally to try to make some money. The river is visible as a brown band at the top of the picture.

shelter on Rio Grande

The craftsman keeps a watchful eye on his inventory from his shelter in the river cane on the Mexican side.

sandbar in Rio Grande

Close in geography, shared history, and culture – impacted by decisions from far away.

Many people on the Texas side have tried to remedy this situation.  Volunteers drive all the way around on rough roads, to reach the villages, bring their products back legally, and sell them on the US side, with all proceeds going back to the craftspeople.  Other people have researched and lobbied to have a crossing reopened.  If you are interested in their efforts, here is a great article about the Boquillas crossing.

It’s an odd situation when abrupt decisions and circumstances separate us from places and people we’re used to.  That’s what the phrase “near and far” meant to me.