"May our former blockages find peace rusting beneath a wind-whipped Southwestern sun."

Home seems unfamiliar now. Twelve days toodling around The Great American Southwest has left us accustomed to continual difference. We stage for our attempted homecoming in the most alienating place in The Great American Southwest: Los Alamos, New Mexico. This state, the quirkiest in the lower forty-eight, is neither new nor Mexico, but New Mexico, more a state of consciousness than geographic territory. Here, desert turns back into verdant mountains again. The Sangre de Cristo burn crimson each sunset. A frigid wind reminds us that we left the South behind some time ago and that we're nearer the Midwest now. We're apparently headed home.

I've dreaded this last day since the day we left, expecting a mad scramble through the Cimarron, over a treacherous Raton Pass, and along the sleezy western extent of the Eastern Plains to reach home, but our dear friends Mark and Rita reminded us of US 285, a more civilized two-lane alternative which sneaks up through the middle of Colorado, an hours-shorter and seemingly less-harrowing alternative to the most primitive of the unimproved Interstates.
We suddenly have one more drive to warmly anticipate, but home seems an unlikely and curiously unwanted destination. We ramble well, the three of us, The Muse, The Otter, and I. We've been thriving on perpetual motion and I can't help but question what staying in one place might yield.

The Muse and I slipped down to the ancient church in Albuquerque's Old Town for yesterday's Morning Mass. I felt pulled there, though I'm about as Catholic as I am Buddhist. The Muse was raised in The Church, and understands the deep symbolism playing out, but I stand awkwardly awed by the ritual. We witness a communion service rather than a mass, and I found the experience reassuring. "Forgive us our trespasses," seemed a perfect entreaty, for we have been tromping as much as toodling through these past almost two weeks, intruders in a most alien land. New Mexico seems alien crazy, images of imaginary space creatures everywhere. I came to understand that we were the aliens this time and that none of any of this region in any way belongs to any one of us. This land belongs to those and them, not to us.

Why did we come? Perhaps for the same reason I felt compelled to intrude on that morning communion service. I seek Redemption, for I am a trespasser here. I live by presumption. I feel as if I am an alien everywhere. The very concept of home feels foreign and eternally unfamiliar. I might qualify as a steward, but never as an owner. I just pass through. My presence hardly sticks except for when it does, and I might be the last one to ever notice when it does. I seek Redemption from my many presumptions. Inconspicuous though most of them might be, I know when I don't belong. I understand that I own none of any of this. I'm just visiting and always have been. By tonight, I will be just visiting home again.

Something turned this trip. Some previously blockaded portion of the world opened up for me and I can see fresh possibilities. I sense a tussle inside as I start wrestling old defenses to ground so that the rest of me might slip around them. We might remember this toodle as a turning point, the place in time forever after delineating before and after, with the before forever after receding into an ever more distant past and a future more fervently closing in on all three of us. We might remember when, but never return here again. And should this come to pass, we will have experienced the Redemption we tacitly sought here. May our trespasses find peace rusting here beneath a wind-whipped Southwestern sun.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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