Heck, wouldn’t you? I mean, look at that thing. Taos Mountain is to the left and under the clouds. Everything you’re looking at is Pueblo land, by the way. No bikers, jerky vendors, or Confederate flags. No realtors, ski bums, or trust-funders playing hippies. No temples, preachers, or bleeding saints. No poetry readings, fanny packs, or country music. No Chamber of Commerce, mini-marts, or Dollar General (not that they wouldn’t want one). I don’t actually mind all those things, and I’m kind of partial to bikers—motorized and otherwise—but by God, I like wilderness better all the time. Just to know it’s there, you know?
In Maryland I could get a feel for this by being on the water. If I sailed or kayaked up the tidal Chester River to where the woods came right down to the shore, there would sometimes be a cove with a strip of sandy beach. Moving quietly past such places, I imagined they’d been that way almost forever. No doubt with bigger trees, more animals, and water you could see into, but still. It was a comfort and a thrill. It plugged me into something special. It activated dormant sensors in my brain.
Out West, you just get massacred. A couple years before we moved, we were down here on vacation in the summer. I’d driven us out to Wild Rivers north of Questa, all the way out to La Junta Overlook where the Red River flows into the Rio Grande 800 feet below. A thunderstorm had just moved past, covering the ground with hail, and now the sun was out. The air was crisp, the light was fierce, and all the wet things sparkled. There were huge dark clouds over the Sangre de Cristos mountains to the east. I could see lightning strike the peaks from where we stood because the air was crystal clear. My body started shaking. Tears ran from my eyes. I had the overwhelming feeling I was home.
It felt so wonderful. Like everything was forgiven and all would be okay. No more searching, no more guilt. Like I was touching god-stuff. I couldn’t turn my back on that. I had to pay attention.
Of course this means a spiritual home. That wasn’t clear to me at first. The power of the landscape took me to a place where there was love in cosmic measure. (Help yourself! Why yes, I think I will.) PEOPLE NEED THIS SHIT! Stop tearing up the Earth! Keep whatever we have left and show it to your kids! For those of you whose parents ate their young, especially, this is how you get back to the truth.