Left Santa Fe at 9:30A on Wednesday. It always seems to take longer to get on the road than you think it will. Headed down I25 south to 550 north toward Cuba.(Cuba New Mexico) Nancy and I had seen a new fire flare up in the Jemz mountains on Monday from Santa Fe. As I headed north on 550 I could see the smoke building.
I have lost track of the number of trips made up 550 to Farmington over the past eight years. I always seem to get in the Jeep and move across the country as if contained in a cage. This was the first time I had traveled the route on the bike. What a difference. I immediately began to notice the curves in the road, the changing temperatures of the air from one area to the next, but most of all...the true beauty of being connected with everything around me. It was a good first day on the road. I spent the night with with my good friend Mike Eisenfeld and his family in their beautiful straw bale solar home.
This morning after several cups of Mike's incredible coffee I headed to Aztec NM to visit Aztec National Monument. Aztec was built between 1000-1200 AD. Known by the Native Peoples as "Place by the Flowing Waters". One of the very special things about Aztec is the Great Kiva which was rebuilt in 1934.
In the Great Kiva the People celebrated the mystery of life. They sang ancient songs timed to the beat of their drums...and hearts. They danced in honor to the animals and plants whose life they shared. They strove to establish a "resonance" with Mother Earth and the Cosmos. They believed harmony in the Cosmos was essential to recreate in their lives, relationships, and community. The People would "remember to remember" their relationship to the natural order of the universe.
As I sat in the Great Kiva I "remembered to remember" how important harmony in our lives, relationships, and community is. It was good to be there.
It was almost noon as I turned the bike toward Mancos CO. Passing several of the usual fast food spots I simply longed for something more local. Around a bend in the road I spotted the Vanilla Moose. This just had to be a good "local" hamburger joint. Parked the bike with a longing for a good greasy burger. Much to my surprise they only served "World Famous" shakes, malts, and ice cream. I was almost ready to ride on...then I thought..."why not try that World Famous Peanut Butter Chocolate malt". As I finished the malt and walked out to the bike I felt a "tap" on the back of my leg. I turned around to see a young Navajo girl holding a toy motorcycle in her hand and pointing at my bike with a big smile on her face.
Her mother looked over with a very friendly "hello". She began to tell me the story of her daughter. She was born on the reservation with a severe birth defect. Her son was fine. The story was like many I had heard before. An extremely high rate of birth defects going unchecked in the Four Corners area. Birth defects quite often caused by mercury in the environment. As I started to walk back to the bike the young girl quickly reached out and gave me a warm and loving hug. Her brother did the same. I waved to them as I pulled onto the highway.
Riding to Mancos I kept thinking how I happened to stop for a burger...but was given the gift of meeting a young child who made me realize why I feel so committed to the work I am doing and the stories I strive to give voice to.
In Mancos tonight. It was a very good and special day.
be strong, be safe, Carlan