“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

― Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems


20131102-074544.jpgRoosevelt County, New Mexico

To reach this place, one travels through remote, beyond the “middle of nowhere,” and on into no man’s land. A flat, mostly straight road, shifting focus only to arc upward in order to pass over mile long trains, carrying mysterious cargo, moving West. The track and the road are laid out like a spilled liquid dripped onto the endless flat, dry Southeast New Mexico plains.

No wonder the UFOs land here in the mesquite and grass north of Roswell. Our infamous visitors from above could very well have entire communities complete with alien Walmarts, and they too would be swallowed up and invisible in this vista. This concept of SPACE is unknown to those in the east, this land is boudary-less and measured in miles. Out here every crow has their own ranchette.

A Verbal Visual

A small windowless house, set back from the road down a dirt track. A metal pole barn, empty corral, silent windmill, and 4 dead trees planted on each corner for shade. This is an an optimist’s hope of feeling rooted in this ocean of Wind. There is no graffiti on this empty house. What would be the point? There is no one here to shock or antagonize, and color is neutralized into the “Plains Beige” of mid-Fall anyways.
I’ve flown over these places many times, seen the three parallel lines of track, road and power lines, and wondered, “Why do they huddle together amidst all this space?”

It is an entirely different experience to be on the ground here. They are close together for survival, for the sanity of those that use these thoroughfares of modern transit. I wonder, how one could hold a thought here? Or a dream? Does one set out to live here ? Or do they get mesmerized until inertia sets in with the howling wind, and a horizon 50 miles away?
Anyone that believes there is human dominion over the earth needs to live here for a month or a season or a year, even a day might humble.

And into Texas

The wealthier, healthier neighbor to New Mexico meets us almost at Clovis. There was of course a detour at this state line. The road quite literally didn’t exist as if the two states couldn’t… quite… touch each other; they operate on such different states of mind. I was driving, so a detour isn’t a surprise; more an expectation. Instead of a smooth transition into this very different state, we made a 90 degree left turn, then right, over two sets of tracks, thankfully not hosting the multiple miles of trains that we wisely beat into town, and then left onto the 4 lane divided highway 84 that dives diagonally towards Lubbock and Sweetwater TX.

Two images for today will remain in my mental scrapbook. The first appeared on the range by Ft Sumner. A scene from the past and the present, a single cowboy on horseback herding a small corps of doomed cattle down a red dirt hillside to join the gathered herd. This is a classic image from the Wild West that I have never witnessed in 10 years of residency in this corner of the West. And in Texas, a modern day hero;

World Guy, http://www.worldguy.org/ walked along the side of the road with his dog, pushing a 6 foot inflatable Earth. Both brought this poem to mind;

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

On this first day, of the second part, of Minerva’s journey, I’m grateful to be here.

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