How peaceful it is to take an evening walk along Grand Avenue in Mancos, a little community of fourteen hundred people, nestled in the Mancos Valley of southwest Colorado! The sunset’s glow is reflected off the La Plata Mountains to the east, and shadows begin to shroud Mesa Verde in the west.
Some call this place the Holy Land. Some call it the Middle East, some Israel, others Palestine. At the Qumran archeological site in the West Bank, the chalk cliffs are steep and rugged. Yet the desert light brings out delicate hues – buff, pink, peach. The land shimmers in the heat, very much like the desert land of my home near Tucson, Arizona.
Albuquerque Monthly Meeting is “positioned” in a cultural and political landscape, but I can no more see our position in that landscape than I can see the position of our planet in the Milky Way, or the back of my own head. I can see that our meetinghouse sits on a one-way street in a valley separating the Sandia Mountains on the east from the Mesa on the west.
Surely life is more than waiting at the center of a wheel of fortune that spins and stops repeatedly to point out countless causes and concerns. Finish one task and then hang on as the wheel spins and points out the next one. Will it be immigration, prison reform, nuclear disarmament, climate change, indigenous rights, racism and white privilege, or . . . ?
Saturday morning, I reach the border at Nogales, Arizona. From near and far, the fence rises. From a distance, it appears as a blade that slices apart both the wholeness of the natural world and the wholeness of a human community. Up close, the twenty-foot barrier imprisons and excludes, looming like a nightmare. The huge, vertical, rust-colored metal slats nearly overlap.