Each Spring, I make a Winter’s-long awaited trip to the mountains of northern New Mexico to renew my vows in doing whatever is in my power to help an ailing planet. This pilgrimage, always with a four legged companion or two, usually winds through the country-side of central and west Texas ending the first day in Carlsbad or Roswell NM. The second day of the journey takes me into Santa Fe where I meet an old friend for lunch, pick up some building supplies and consult with the contractor I’ve hired to complete some work on a project I’ve been passionate about for the last seven years.
The evening of that second day finds me nearly 8,000 ft high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in an isolated cabin I have to hike from my vehicle to get to. I arrive just before dusk as the chill of the evening begins to set in. Typically, there is snow still piled in the shadows of the mountain I’m on and it will get down into the 20’s before mid-night. I collect wood for the fireplace, load the refrigerator, prepare my sleeping bag and, of course, make a pot of coffee. This Spring, Penny and I absorb the quiet as the sun sets behind the snow capped range out in the distance. She has made this trip with me nearly a dozen times over the two yrs I’ve had her and knows the routine well. The fire crackles and our dinner is devoured as we listen to late night jazz (Miles, Coltrane, Ahmad Jamal).
This land is wondrous! Still inhabited by folks of indigenous and Mexican ancestry, the Mora Valley and surroundings, has been the inspiration for a number of writers including John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War) Richard Bradford (Red Sky at Morning) and Frank Waters (People of the Valley). It is magical in its splendor, mysterious in its solitude and completely and uniquely uninhibited in its presence. New Mexico has drawn me to its inner sanctum since I first set foot on its hallowed ground shortly after college. Each Spring reaffirms my commitment to its territory and the entire planet earth on which it sits.
Mora County, NM, was the first municipality in the country to refuse to allow fracking by energy companies. The “gente” have a deep and abiding respect for the land and all it sustains. Farmers and ranchers have risen up to block hydraulic fracturing that threatens to contaminate the pure ground water of northern NM and they continue to wage an informational campaign to keep the big money interests from gaining a foothold in this natural habitat.
Penny and I hike over to Morphy Lake when we get the chance. It’s fed by mountain streams and snow melt from the higher altitudes. Forest surrounds the small lake and the state park it sits in closes for several months during the Winter. We can hike around the lake in less than an hour and there has never been more than a few campers and fishermen leisurely enjoying the solitude. Terra Advocati will be considering adopting Morphy Lake State Park as a project providing recycling and possibly composting opportunities for the visitors and park ranger.
I have hired Jesus Padron to complete some of the work on the cabin so we can meet an end-of-the-year deadline and prepare it for “open house” in Spring ’16. Our intention is to make it available to those seeking time and space away from the hub-bub of their daily lives. It will present a unique opportunity to commune with nature on it’s 30 acre spread and enjoy complete submersion in a wilderness setting. We will use funds generated to assist other organizations and individuals in NM to pursue their goals of working on species and habitat preservation.
I don’t think we can hope to save the life of planet Earth unless we experience its soul by periodically making direct contact with its elements – the canyons, mountains, forests and streams; the wild life that depend on those elements. Terra Advocati and our future home base in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, will provide that opportunity and will, through education and praxis, assist in the healing of the planet. We all have a part to play and a good piece of your part can be in association with Terra Advocati.
I look forward to hopefully seeing you all when we open the house a year from now. Thank you for your interest, dedication and commitment to the ideals of our organization. We are Terra Advocati!