That which we are, we shall teach. Ralph Waldo Emerson
For President’s Day, Mai and I headed north towards Santa Fe. Before ascending La Bajada we veered west and crossed the Río Grande. Nestled against the Jemez Mountains, there’s an unlikely place where volcanic pumice, tuff and ash cliffs have eroded into conical forms. This place is called Kasha-Katuwe, meaning “white cliffs” in the Keresan language of the Pueblo de Cochiti. It’s also called Tent Rocks. We took a hike there, and walked into surprising beauty.
this song by Gil and Cartas reminds me of walking in beauty
It felt so good to get out of the car and walk into the fresh air. Our legs reached for the land like a tree grows to light. The trail begins at the base of the white cliffs. We walked through juniper and piñon forest. Then we entered a canyon, which narrows down to a slot several stories high and barely wide enough to walk through. The trail curves around rock, its way carved by water. It seems an improbable passage but it leads out into open higher ground.
Unexpectedly we found ourselves at eye level with the tops of the “tent rocks”. The last steep pitch delivered us to the plateau above the tent rocks and awesome views of the Southwest’s grandeur and splendor. We gazed at mountains all around, the Sandia Crest above Albuquerque, the Sangre de Cristo above Santa Fe, and volcanic peaks of the Jemez Mountains.
At the top we sat on a rock and drank water. A group of school kids climbed up the trail just behind us, and their teacher sat on a rock next to us. The class was from the Cochiti Pueblo. The kids had the day off from school. They were wearing shirts with a slogan about being healthy and fit. Their teacher said activities like this were helping the kids realize their powers to live a healthy life. The kids were catching the wind, smiling, enjoying the day. An experience like this walk helps us get acquainted with ourselves and the living land community first hand. As humans we are constituted to walk. It fills us with insight. We inhabit the heart of nature. When we joyfully obey this enthusiasm, we find ourselves in new country, walking into health.