Nothing is Written Beforehand

“Hey man, give me some coins so I can get the f&*# out of here.” I’d stopped to get gas in Gallup. Big mistake. While there are places in America that are magical, there are also others that remind us of poverty and despair closer to home. “Sorry don’t have any,” I think I mumbled. He stormed off.

Give to all those who ask of you it’s written. So much for that.

Get the f$*# out of here? Where was he planning on going anyway? For him this place was nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Poverty is not the friend of opportunity; especially poverty that destroys the spirit as well as the body. The man had been unruly, hard – long hair. Yes, a Native American – so many have never really recovered after the conquest; conquered peoples have a hard time fitting in.

I drive on – quicker now. Gotta get out of Gallup – bad place, left a bad taste. We don’t like to admit that there are people at home who also suffer; who also were at the losing end of history. My history maybe; because I’m European. But not my fault – at least not directly. Nobody will blame the poor English farmers who hopped a boat to the new land to seek opportunity; not that it’s about blame. History moves about in waves – like a tsunami.

The Petrified Forest.

Reminding me that our world doesn’t think in years or decades or even centuries. Reminding me that a place that is now as barren as the surface of Mars was once a land of plenty, of towering green trees and great rivers teaming with life. If a place can go from one extreme to another, is it possible that we only need to wait – that this place an old Indian wanted to “get the f&*$ out of” will be again a land of opportunity?

Nothing is written beforehand. Everything is a result of the efforts of humanity and its response to moments of significance. Greatness, destruction – they both come from decisions. Personal decisions, affecting the lives of generations.

It’s a harsh land – the world the first peoples occupied. I look at my son – something very new sitting on something so very very old. His story is not written beforehand either – he also will live the consequences of decisions; mine and others.


A long time ago that sour old Indian was also a little boy – playing among the ruins of a lost civilization. But by the grace of God…

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nothing is Written Beforehand

  1. Oscar Balza says:

    Very moving words! very inspiring also!


  2. m88vn says:

    When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the exact same comment.
    Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s