Cenizo Journal Spring 2023 | Page 17

Boquillas del Carmen , Mexico - Story by Shannon King All photos by Tony Drewry
serves as a watering hole for the horses , bear and other critters crossing back and forth between Texas and Mexico . At its fullest it runs like strands of thick braided hair , each lock fighting the other yet growing stronger with every plait .
Moving east and out of town the road widens into open ground . We trudge across dunes of loose sand mixed with juniper and scrub brush , sinking a bit with each step . The Rio snakes its way behind , gently pushing us forward along the path .
Scattered hearths and remnants of long-ago encampments litter the desert - the remains of the original Boquillas town . Once an active silver and lead mining community with a population of 2,000 , now a single tram tower across the river and dispersed foundations its only legacy . The eye of a small cave gazes down on us from the hillside and I wonder how many children busied themselves in that perfectly formed fort , oblivious to the demands of the adult world . More than a few , I hope .
Our path narrows and we wind our way through the lacings of branches and brush , a tangle of creosote and mesquite gasping and fighting for moisture and root-room below , along the river edge and through a small arroyo where we pause to let the horses drink . A breeze kicks up and I brush the hair from my face as a monarch butterfly floats past . A fitting tribute to the souls who used to populate this area . More than just a surface of barren land , there is a depth here further than the eye can see and the ears can hear .
Approaching Boquillas Canyon , rock melts into water and we are flanked on each side by the gently sloping bajada topped with steep cliffs . Limbs reach into the narrow trail as if claiming it for themselves , scraping my boots as we pass . I shift slightly to avoid the thorns and the saddle squeaks beneath me .
Pulling back the reins at the base of a large mesquite tree we stop , tie

Cenizo Spring 202317