Where I live is the state capital, yet I wake to the sounds of whinnying horses nearby and ravens cawing as they coast above the pale and dry river of sand.
Where I live, people don’t honk their horn when the car in front of them is delayed. But where I live, people cruise right through red lights and one can never assume that green is safe to go.
Where I live is called “High Desert” that offers cool nights, warm days, windy springs, dry cold and dry heat, and flowering and fruitful trees if it doesn’t freeze in the spring.
Where I live, strangers say good morning and smile, eyes meeting eyes, reminding me of where I do not live anymore.
Where I live, there are fewer people per acre and more indigenous people than any other state in the U.S.
“The north central and central regions have the greatest diversity of Native American centers, while Navajo Nation in the northwest region (extending into the other Four Corners states) is the largest Indian reservation/nation within the contiguous United States.”
Where I live is a mere five hours from where a nuclear bomb was detonated underground in 1961 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and where there was a radioactive leak from a nuclear waste dump site just last month that some officials say is a “small health risk” to those exposed.
Where I live the statistics are far above the national average, with nearly one-third of the state’s children living in poverty, 60 percent living in low-income families, and about 37 percent with parents who lack secure employment.
Where I live, it is easy to engage in local politics in order to make a difference.
Where I live, gay marriage in now legal.
Where I live, the land is raw and spiritual support is ever present. The potential for personal transformation is greatly accelerated, and that transformation is easier if one is not born into an intergenerational cycle of extreme poverty stemming from colonization and genocide. Thankfully, indigenous people of the Southwest have strong self-determination, local reform efforts, anti-poverty programs and economic development opportunities from their tireless activism over the decades.
Where I live, I release lifetimes of fear, removing the protective scaffolding of image and ego, choosing to heal and reinvent myself again and again–until there is nothing left to liberate but spirit.
Where I live, I love. And where I love, I thrive.