At this altitude, it is not so obvious when spring arrives. Weather patterns are quite unpredictable and while you can experience a period of pleasant temperatures, you cannot get too comfortable. Such is the state of so many things these days. More and more unpredictability seems to be the progression of our planet and our social structures.
Driving around the city and surrounding areas, I really must pay attention to where life is reemerging. A hotspot of interest is the Pink Adobe Restaurant that is now serving in its legendary patio. There are bright patches of green in certain trees and some wild grasses are starting to pop up. But overall, you are hard pressed to notice any real shift in the desert’s granite shaded garment. There are more clouds this time of year that seem to linger. And when the sun comes out, it’s easy to assume the calm, spring-like weather will remain. Then the wind kicks up. And it kicks up for days on end! That patio dining experience will inevitably be disrupted.
I have marveled at the hardiness of some of the plants that grow and thrive here. How is it that they can produce such finery in their foliage and their blossoms with so little? As Earth Day approaches, the increasing effects of climate change and the pandemic are forcing us to reconsider how much we really need to use on a daily basis. I wrestle with the ambivalence that my learned habits and urges create. I regularly have to negotiate with the conversation in my head that says I have done without long enough. It’s time now. I’m done with all this. I want what I want when I want it! I want to go to the Hotel Saint Francis for a drink!
Sadly, this paradigm of endless consumerism is no longer working. It hasn’t worked for decades, but we are only now noticing its true impact. The impact I am noticing in myself is that I must reach deeper to find what has truly been left unfed by the more authentic expression of who I am. Not the one that tries to adapt to the world and its endless demands to do something, produce something, BE something, contribute some THING. Our world is literally drowning in things. Our dreams are being disrupted by another cruel wind designed by our collective unconscious and misguided material values. There has to be a furtherance to the emergence of the human spirit.
The San Luis Valley
Spring, for me, has traditionally been full of magic. Like turning a corner and seeing a crabapple tree in full, bombastic flowering with soft, fragrant petals that caress my face like a favorite teddy bear lost in the attic for years only to be found at just the right moment. I have never felt so much sadness yet also a need to accept and face what is happening to our planet. Life is everywhere, yet I find I must dare myself, cajole and insist that I spend time looking for that yearly emergence known as Spring.
After decades of joyful expectation for the onset of this season, I feel the need to disrupt grief and dismay by remembering the preciousness of trees and flowers. In the high desert both are a rare delight. I have disrupted deep grieving cycles in my life by dwelling in nature countless times. No matter how heartbroken I feel, She is always there holding out her hand to embrace me yet again and never judges me for losing my way. “That is the way of this place,” I imagine Her telling me. Life cycles, whether miniscule or geological, are temporal. My puny identifications to be this or that mean nothing in the grander scheme of what is transpiring on Planet Earth.
Michael A. Naranjo, “Emergence“
Driving across the great Taos Plateau and going over the Rio Grande Gorge makes me quite nervous. Its gaping chasm is seemingly not such a big deal from a distance. Until you look down, 650 feet down. Driving over it gives me an odd concern and rattles my empathic detectors to an all time high simply knowing how many have jumped to their deaths there.
But drive over it we did on our way through the breathtaking expanse of the San Luis Valley for a backroad adventure to the Denver IKEA. Yes, I confess, we had to get some furniture that was affordable and would fit in my car. This is not exactly a short trip, but one filled with precious sites like the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. I could not lose the temptation to divert our journey to get a closer look at it. I did not yet have my National Parks Annual Pass, so the desire to actually go beyond the gate and into the park was mitigated by the $25.00 fee. Some of these dunes are over 300 feet tall. Remnants of an ancient lake and the smooth, undulant mountains of sand against the Sangre De Cristo mountain range almost made me forget that I still had about 4 hours of driving ahead of me, not to mention the return trip.
Great Sand Dunes National Monument
This is a particularly interesting part of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado where the boundary lines of both regions seem non-existent. I wanted to lose the clinging of myself I felt driving over the gorge. The great expanse made me want to lose my own established boundaries of how I perceive the world. A perception laden with the urge to satisfy personal needs and consumer habits. The last thing I really wanted to do was to go to IKEA.
Fear of change seems so much more disruptive than change itself. We seem to be the only creatures on this planet that have that fear. Change is by definition all that there really is. I want to seek out the green shoots of humanity, the new sprouts, the sudden bursts of flowers amidst the chaos. Happily, our Mother welcomes us back to the garden at any time. You will find me there, seeking grace amidst the disruption.