My artistic and technical talent is my voice to lift up the majesty of what remains of the Sonoran Desert: butchered, blown up, tunneled under, walled off, yet still magnificent, mystical, and 'full of sound'* to those who listen. There is a timelessness to this land, peoples, and traditions that have flourished in the splendor of this unique corner of the universe.
As a Euro-American (Scottish mutt), I am aware that I am here under the stain of American Manifest Destiny. My home sits on O'odham land that was Mexico until 1854. Arizona didn't become a state until 1912. I am now acutely aware that being born Caucasian in America means a guaranteed level of privilege and safety granted no others, even in hardship.
One gift of being a loner besides freedom is a capacity for empathy. Living near the border has taught me volumes about humanity and humility that I wouldn't have learned otherwise and I am eternally grateful.
Recent years especially have tested my faith in American decency like no other. I have gone through the Five Stages of Grief and then some. Like Fannie Lou Hamer, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." America's young Poet Laurearate Amanda Gorman gave me hope and renewed appreciation for its enduring, ephemeral nature:
"The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it.”
So beautiful the vision... so we climb and claw and cliff-hang with bloody fingers until Truth is no longer feared: that ALL people are created equal. Only then can there be liberty and justice for all.
That is The Dream.
Meanwhile, at the end of the day, Nature bats last and we are at the bottom of the 9th. We cannot make honey without sharing in the fate of bees. My refuge has always been with nature, and through these times I have learned to enjoy the simple abundance of life's everyday wonders. My family. My dogs. The birds in my yard, projects around my little old handmade house. The sweet desert air. And of course, the exquisite Arizona sunsets... The simple gift of Now.
As Zuni farmer Jim Enote put it: "We are part of a Collective Magnificence."
Ed Keeylocko was right: "A person has to get back to the land..."