George reluctantly came to the military and political table. He viewed himself first and foremost, a farmer. “Nothing in my opinion would contribute more to the welfare of these States, than the proper management of our Lands,” he declared as he noted soil depletion from heavy tobacco planting. An ardent composter, according to Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners, an outstanding account of our agricultural/horticultural heritage, Washington “was obsessed with manure and the improvement of the soil.” A man after my own heart. I visited Mount Vernon several years ago. Built on the backs of slaves, it remains a moving testament to the conflicts that gave birth to aristocratic rebellion against the British and then less than one hundred years later, a civil war. Happy Birthday George.
Tucked away about 20 miles north of Tularosa on New Mexico Highway 54, the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site, managed by the Bureau of Land Management provide a glimpse into the Jornada Mogollon culture that lived in thatched, semi submerged earth dwellings from approximately 400 AD to 1200 AD when so many thriving cultures seemed to have disappeared…Chaco, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep and many others. Left behind are the rock tablets that depict a common humanity. Animals, symbols, handprints and iconic faces can be seen easily on a trail and it’s only a fraction of the 20,000 some thousand that have been identified.
For fans of Michael McGarrity’s Keven Kerney series, this is the land. And it’s a pretty spectacular place.
Just a short jaunt from my home is a tiny train station that services, among other things, the Amtrak line linking us to Los Angeles and Chicago via the Southwest Chief . A controversy now embroils the community because an oil company is proposing to bring crude oil into the station and off-load it onto trucks for transporting to refineries. Tracks and transporting trucks are outdated and the infrastructure has proved incapable of handling the increased demands. In the small village, two wells are in close proximity to the proposed off-loading station. A petition against this ill-conceived plan needs your signature. Lamy is named after Bishop Jean Baptist Lamy who served Santa Fe from 1851 to 1885.
Since I’ve had an AARP card for almost ten years, the next decade moves me into another bracket for, let’s say, a sprint triathlon. So with one rotation of the earth, I’ll be competing as the youngest in the bunch. I’ll need the advantage since it’s my first. While gardening certainly gives me ample exercise, there is nothing like the challenge (fear notwithstanding) of the unknown. It’s more a commitment to health than competition. It’s a commitment to trying new things, to pushing beyond comfort zones. Where would we be if humans and others weren’t compelled to explore new territory? As Anonymous once said…Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.