Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ESE on the Road, pt 4





Today held little structure.

That's both good and bad. Previously scheduled interviews fell through. Plus, the amount of territory Hoyt guided us over yesterday left us with little to still cover. I mean you can only go look at Archuleta Peak so many times. The good news is that the day is freed up and that left the door open for impromptu interviews with people we met. Today that included fine folks from the Jicarilla Cultural Center and the tribal administration office.

Not much else today, aside from staring at a fucking pile of notebook paper that I must somehow turn into a book. How I'm going to manage that is anybody's guess. Half the problem is my scribbled handwriting, racing to get everything down that my interview subject is giving me.

I hear two teachers moaning in my head. One is my second grade teacher harping about my handwriting and the other a grad school prof telling me to tape record interviews. Yeah yeah fuck you. I find people don't like to be recorded and handwriting is a dead mode. 

Can't get problems from home off my mind. They followed me here. Then again if there's one thing I truly excel at, it's worrying.

Then I did something I have never previously done. Bernard and I drove out of town to the overlook by Lake Dulce (which is about as big as the reflecting pond at my college.) We arrived just before nightfall and watched the sky give way to star speckled darkness. Yes, we were craning our necks, scanning for UFOs. Yesterday, Hoyt suggested we try it. Apparently, anomalous lights are fairly common over Dulce and the lake area provided a decent vantage point from which to take in a wide range of sky. That pic at the top of the page is one Bernard took just as the light went out.

Did we see anything? No. That is aside from a few planes and satellites. No Bigfoot, either. Not even a chupacabra.

What we did see was one of the most spectacular night skies I have ever encountered. We were about as free from light pollution as one can get in the US, aside from the interior of Nevada. All of space seemed to open up to us and I felt...go ahead and laugh...a sort of kinship with the Jicarilla Apache. Because I was doing what they once did hundreds of years ago.

I looked up at the stars in the sky.

The Jicarilla, along with the neighboring tribes of the area such as the Pueblo and the Anasazi, held the sky in great reverence. Tonight, looking at the wonders of the universe, I was reminded of why. I sat and asked myself if we are alone in the cosmos. The answer, for anyone allegiant to principles of logic, is an obvious "no." We couldn't be. Gazing at the immensity of the universe this night, I just don't see how that is possible.

I say this not with doe-eyed, pulp sci-fi dreaminess, but with a cold sensation of truth. I am a speck. This world is a speck...spinning through a sea of stars.

I think that the indigenous peoples knew that. And they were just fine with it. They knew they were a part of something bigger and that there is great dignity and freedom in accepting such a reality.

Time here in Dulce has come to an end. Tomorrow we head back to Albuquerque.  More to come.




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