When I first saw the bands of color the old ones would watch from their hilltop, I felt it in my center, a vibration of excitement just below my breastbone. I felt this was a place of important beginnings.
The landscape rolling by was a handful of sticks from my favorite box of pastels. Dusty and crisp and brilliant: red earth, dotted with velvet junipers anchored by inky shadows, glowing sage, and sun-bleached yellow grasses, lighting the rolling hills spattered with lava and sandstone. So much more than any photo or painting could ever say.
We came to the place where the old ones lived and prayed. Stone terraces where they watched the light change on the mesas and wondered if there would be enough food for the winter. Would there be enough rain?
Only whispers of their spirits remained, though. All but a trace had been wiped away by the “new ones” in microfiber, pushing strollers, while dragging children who cried for sodas. Some of the essence had been erased by the government, who re-mortared the rocks to “mitigate liability”, thereby sterilizing the experience to make it safe for the masses.
Near the quiet end of what should have been earth, but was an asphalt skin, we escaped the new ones who didn’t want to stray too far from the parking area. It was there we found the crack in the earth. It was there, that I smelled my mother and felt her breath blow blissfully in my face.
Although bricked over and grated to protect the public from their own stupid selves, we encountered the blow hole—an opening into a deep place in the earth where a cavity exists that reacts to barometric pressure. When the barometric pressure is high, air rushes out of the gap. When the pressure is low and the earth’s crust relaxes, the gap sucks air into the earth.
That’s the science, but for me, it was a deep, spiritual experience. I felt my mother. I smelled her. I felt her life force, her energy, her love. Not the woman that carried me into this world, but my mother, the earth. The mother I cling to that nourishes me and keeps me grounded.