Photo: Julie Lucas
Through the Fog
Through the smoky fog, I could see their feet walking across the street. These are the souls of those who have passed while crossing the border to the United States. Every year on the anniversary of their death, they make the same trip they took before they disappeared. Still with hope, they keep walking, searching for their destination. Some seek for their children; others keep searching for their wives, husbands, and lovers who never saw them arrive.
Only through memory is their presence felt. You see, their trajectory found a halt. Rosa was raped and beaten before reaching Laredo, Texas. Roberto was robbed of his shoes and shot to be forgotten. Daniel was found dehydrated and dead in the desert. These are the walking spirits among us, the ones we can no longer feel but–from time to time–can see.
My name is Isarely Flores. I am a fourth generation Hispanic woman whose parents were migrant workers in the Yakima Valley. I grew up playing in the orchards and watching my weary dad come in from a long hard day of hot and dusty work. His torn brown boots paraded his fatigue as the dust covering the wear and tear of soil-saturated chemicals brought the smells of orchard spray into the house at nightfall. My childhood was spent in the fields and orchards and watching my family struggle financially.
Neither of my parents spoke English which resulted in difficult times for me in school. Completing my high school education was not easy but my parents’ hard-working ethics kept me strong, and by their example I never quit even though I almost failed. On a summer afternoon a year later, I walked to receive my diploma! I had been my own advocate to become the first generation graduate in my family.
Today I am a senior working on finishing a BA in English with a concentration in Business at Heritage University located in Toppenish, Washington. My advancement here as well as employment at East Valley High School (Yakima) and Costco Wholesale have helped me become a leader. I knew early on that life was tougher for those like me. Regardless, I knew I could exceed the expectations set upon me—and I have.