The Cottonwoods Rejoice in Humble Endurance
A cooled summer breeze rustles through the Cottonwoods stirring matured leaves in a rustling shimmer. I notice autumn’s first hints of gold now appearing, as purple wild Asters bloom in compliment. I catch a whiff of roasting green chili and my mouth waters in anticipation, triggered by memories of past New Mexico autumns. My mind floods with other such unique remembrances, the substance of traditions important to me even though, I like the Cottonwoods am a relative new-comer. I’ve made my home among them. They are like me and I am like them. Our common ancestors were transplants in the New Mexico Territory, a hardy stock that adapted well to the desert and flourished. Together we’ve filled every river valley and tributary arroyo, clinging to the water that has enabled us as immigrant desert aliens to blend in with the natives. We are New Mexico now and only God has the power to remove us. By the sheer force of stubborn survival, we have woven ourselves into those traditions and customs that stretch back to the ancient Pueblos. The Bosque’ is only a little over one hundred years old but every New Mexican cherishes it and on hot summer days, we rejoice in its evaporative cooling shade. In autumn, their sparkling gold display is a favorite atmosphere for family picnics and happy celebrations by people of many cultural backgrounds. The Bosque’ represents a cultural blending that makes New Mexico a special place to live.
Not everyone is as accepting of the Bosque’ and those outsiders who brought the Cottonwood trees with them, as are I and most long-time New Mexico residents. Another kind of new-comer is invading now. They call themselves Progressives and they want to take New Mexico backwards in time and restore us to imagined desert purity, devoid of transplants. They war with the rural, custodial citizens (the ranchers and farmers) who have guarded the land that sustains them for millennia. By imposing hardship through standards and regulations, these new tecolotes (vultures from outside of New Mexico) seek to drive them from the land and return all of it to the wolves and coyotes. In the name of environmentalism, they seek power and control by controlling the rural lands and waters. They cloak themselves as beneficiaries but they are no different from the Spaniards who came to New Mexico seeking gold, cloaked in the religion of the Catholic Church. Each seeking to enslave the native people by holding them to a pointed sword with the command to convert or die! In the name of preserving wild New Mexico the Federal Government is stealing the land and destroying her unique accepting character. They are robbing the people of the ability to feed themselves. I know this same war is happening in every state, as the Federal Government and the corporations they’ve married seek to control the food supply. I also, know that this isn’t the only area of life in which the government is trying to establish a strangle-hold over the people. Government control is the main characteristic of this current moment in time.
However, this is still September in my beloved New Mexico and I will continue to rejoice in the beauty of the season, despite the threat of a government grown too large and bullying. The desert is accepting of diversity but only, those new-comers who are willing to adapt themselves to her will survive. The Spaniards who came seeking gold and took control over the native peoples by enslaving them, never found the gold they searched for and the desert broke their power. The desert will also, break these new gold seekers. They will vanish, the true natives will remain, and any new-comers who stay behind will survive only, in a humbled, blended form. I have faith in God and in the natural world He governs to knock people back down when they imagine themselves omnipotent. What is true in New Mexico is true in the rest of America and the world. Those who seek gold and power bring misery but it is the meek who will inherit the earth. I trust in God’s promises. I will not fear no matter the specter the controllers raise. I will put my faith and trust in God and like the humble Cottonwood, I will endure and outlast them. The vultures are gathered and circling, thinking their feasting time is near but the humble will not die. God will frustrate their plans and show them that He is the one in control. They will go hungry and vanish. Only, the meek and faithful will remain.