You can’t go back home again, Thomas Wolfe said. I think I understand.
I’m not sure what I expected of Terlingua. In my memory, it was a place of endless wonder.
And now, it’s just a place.
It’s not Terlingua’s fault. When we were young, it was an oasis we’d descend upon after hiking in the wilderness for days in the Texas heat. Icy Dr Peppers, air conditioning, civilization, turquoise. Rick brought me along for the world championship chili festival, an impossibly fantastic carnival of excessive beer and jalapeños, and to ride shotgun on endless misadventures in Big Bend.
We were young, experiencing life on our own terms for the first time, discovering there was a world that existed beyond the boundaries of Tom Green County.
I think Mr. Wolfe was saying that your memories are nostalgia of a place in time that no longer exists. The geography is the same, but the magic is gone forever.
Kerrville 1974, Austin 1981, Flagstaff 1986, Tempe 1995. They’re just a fading memory that dims a little more with every passing year.
I miss that old Terlingua of my youth, and Rick’s unbridled excitement when we would go down that dusty road. It’s not there anymore.
But someday, maybe we’ll pull up in front of the Starlight, think back to that fall day in 2022 and what a perfect time that was.
Here we are.
Back home again.