Sleep is Life

Sleep is Life

Noted this before, but the line in the window?

Sleep is Life

As seen here.

It’s a little slice of inner-city, urban realism, that grabbed me. Been many years since I’ve been down that one road. I always thought that San Antonio’s South Flores street would make an intriguing photo-essay of its own, starting around the backside of the historic San Fernando cathedral, and heading due south for five or six miles, maybe further, I forget the actual distance, but along the way?

Big and Barbacoa — Every Day

The brilliant color of the local TexMex culture, the smell of rotten garbage, the clang of the dumpster trucks, and then, the aroma of fresh carne on the griddle, and the transcendent nose full of baked goodness, caramelized sugars mixed with strong cinnamon and stronger vanilla — all mixed with exhaust fumes, as the great southern East-West route, Interstate 10 cuts through there, as does the great North-South route, Interstate 35. Almost defines it as the crossroads.

Sleep is Life

From bright neon to hand-lettered signage, from simple mom-and-pop stores to bits of abandoned corporate identities.

Pretty sure I ate breakfast someplace close that storefront. Can’t say for sure, as that’s now almost a decade passed, and that area has been “discovered,” with greening “gentrification” along its way. Well, there’s goes the neighborhood?

Sleep is life

The older neighborhoods, though, paint such a clear picture of the richness of San Antonio’s culture, the diversity of its backgrounds, the roots and then branches that stem out along the way. Growth and entropy, all in one.

Bexar County Line

There’s a kind of magic, from Woman Hollering Creek to the pop-up Botanicas populated with card readers and curanderos. The veil between myth and reality, the strange, untold stories, ghosts, spirits, and whatever else is the fine overlay to the trappings of a typical metropolitan city.

There’s a kind of essence, at once transient and traditional, omnipresent, and especially in the older neighborhoods. What pops up, then goes away, only to re-emerge transformed yet again.

Heading out to work, the other morning, I drove through low-lying fog, as if clouds had settled on the ground. Just a typical muggy morning with the cool, damp winter-like air, still laden with Gulf and Pacific moisture, fogging up the bottom lands, such as they were. Little depressions, between relative high-points, collecting a fog, layered wisps of clouds napping on the ground.

Momentarily, I missed the morning fog in Austin, steam rising in the cool morning air from Town Lake. While I never really witnessed this myself downtown, I know the overlay is there; the conditions are present and persistent.

Sleep is Life

There’s a sense of history that I found in Bexar County, leavened, no doubt, with a proper understanding of the absurd.

There’s also a joy, I don’t find may other places, a genuine joy that things are as they are.

Sleep is life

There’s a combination of old and new, tried and traditional, established, native materials, as the adobe color that runs alongside more modern shadings. Still, at its heart, there’s the aroma of some kind of a meat or meat-like substance simmering on a hot griddle, against the noises of a large city, and yet, still neighborhoods where neighbors help each other out — even if it means moving mattresses.

As the sign reads, “Sleep is life.”

astrofish.net/travel

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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