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Reflections: A Cedar Mesa Homecoming

August 5, 2011

Moon House is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century by Ancestral Pueblans, that  is,  the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians of northern New Mexico. The whole area was abandoned no later than 1300 A.D.  Protected by the natural overhang, the ruins have survived over 700 years with no maintenance,upkeep, or repair. These ruins have many remarkable architectural features, including a breeze way and loopholes oriented to critical approaches.  The fingerprints of the builders, dead for so many centuries,  are still visible,  intact in the dried mud used as mortar. Seeing them fascinates me.

There are two Cedar Mesas that I am involved with, that are intertwined in my life and psyche.  I live on top of one of them. The Other is like a magnet that  I have felt drawn to for the last 25 years. I have spent countless days and some weeks exploring, backpacking,hiking, experiencing that wordless environment. The two of them are like polarized poles, that complete  a circuit through my mind and body, energizing me.

Only several years after I discovered The Other Cedar Mesa did I read Ed Abbey’s writings:Desert Solitaire, The Monkey Wrench Gang, One Life at a Time, Please and many other stimulating, evocative, thoughtful, exasperating, shit-stirring,  annoying and provocative works.  My favorite quote from him is this:

“Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I’ve always found the second approach more pleasing.”

I love that sentiment.

I am no Edward Abbey but I take inspiration from Cactus Ed’s premise and that’s why this blog is called The Edge of Cedar Mesa.  I intend some entries to be “edgy”, provocative, annoying,  dissident. I live in rural western Colorado. the “Western Slope” as it’s known with the state. It is an area of wondrous natural beauty but also a rather socially confining environment that tires me with its endless appetite for  ersatz nostalgia,   conformity, Disneyland’s Main Street USA,  sentimental fantasy, simple-minded cliches and slogans, and for emotional reassurance that the world is and should be, just like the remember imagining it as children.  Many seem to   retreat from reality into a dishonest nostalgia and Hollywood-invented bogus past that often tires me. I meet people proud of never having ventured more than fifty miles from their birthplace,  wanting to replicate their great-grandparents’ lives, living their life by a short list of slogans and maxims. Part of this blog is my rebellion against that social environment.

Ideally, I hope to both provocative and amusing in my own Quixotic absurdity. Obviously this blog is a clumsy work in progress.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julianne Johnson permalink
    August 21, 2011 4:48 AM

    Had an encounter with one of our locals that brought to mind “Know your audience”. I realized it was more than that, it was choose your audience. Thank you for your wonderful, gentle cynicism and knowing that you have chosen the right audience. I’m here, I’m listening, and I GET IT!

  2. August 21, 2011 7:50 AM

    I’d like to hear the details.
    I even have a long quote from Erich Fromm about clear-sightedness appearing to be cynicism when it is not….

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