Why do I need to know all of this? One problem with being a generalist is where to start and when to stop. You feel like a dilettante, you ARE a dabbler. You hope that your naivete serves to make connections where others are more entrenched. You hope that these connections serve some larger snapshot.
Like any kind of literacy, the land needs to be read for signs of life beyond the picturesque. In order to unpack the mythology that comprises what we call the Wild, or the Open Range, it’s crucial to recognize nuance. I have found, so far, nuances – 1000 doors behind each one: the door of fire, the door of the wolf, the door of the rivers, the door of water at large, and of drought, the door of grasslands diversity, the door of cattle breeds and husbandry, the door of the Apache perspective, the door of the Mimbres cultural mysteries, the maze of ranchers, enviros, politicians, Federal workers, biologists. In a desert, perhaps more than other ecosystems, nuance is everything.
I will never be here, in this particular place which is both unique and also representative of problems of The West, long enough to be literate in all the nuances.But in listening the last 2 weeks to a diversity of people who are rooted in this landscape and deeply invested in the biopolitics of the Southwest in one way or another, statements come leaping out at me, rich with image, with conviction, with metaphor. Everyone expresses conviction. I feel doubt. My questions have become simple, at the tail of long conversations that unfold like tiny labyrinths for enormous centipedes.
Is there any hope here?
Do you think people can bridge the polarized divide?
What is the wolf a symbol of to you, how do you picture it, what sort of character does it possess?