Adventure: Who is Primitive?

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Petroglyphs near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

What is real? What is not? “Primitive peoples,” carving stories on stone. So close to the fringes of the city. Strip malls, track homes-poorly constructed-ubiquitous lines like scars on the Earth. Named after what was destroyed to make room for the mass itself. “Shady Canyon,” or “Panther Springs.” Boxes stretching to the horizon line, each year inching out a bit more than the last. Inching out into the sacred, the spacious, and the last remaining.

Eight-lane surface streets, lined with concrete to impede the crossover. Built to herd masses. Smog and dust. Fumes of modern culture high on holiday buying. Nature Center warnings, West Nile, Plague, Hanta, and high crime area. Forget the valuables. Escape with your life. Do you feel lucky? The pop of a stray round in the distance. Cocked and locked. Holiday spirit.

He giveth and he taketh away.

Cinder block walls, vacant lots, and the residue of crisis. Human, financial, philosophical, psychological, and existential. The gap widens. This place is about the dirt and the fight itself. Tooth and nail, down on points and needing a knockout. Is it still a fight if you don’t want to win? If you find a reason to perpetuate the struggle?

Abandoned shops, restaurants, stores, and entire malls sit empty, fenced off, and cast aside. Many, bad ideas from the get-go, barely hanging on until the virus came to snuff them out for good. Indian food, auto parts, insurance companies, gift shops, family markets, massage parlors, party supplies, flower shops, tennis equipment, tax solutions, shoe stores, fitness centers, Army recruiting and sporting goods stores all crumbling in poorly made structures waiting for deliverance or the dozer.

A landing pad for immigrant families. Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cambodian, not to mention those from the south who have the skin and language to blend in. Working hard on “el otro lado.” There is cruelness here and opportunity. The balance between making it or not is fluid and fickle. One slip and the needle dips. Running on vapor and the help of strangers. Still carving our stories on stone, but I ask you, who are the “primitive peoples,” really?

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