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Dispatch № 5 · The Gila

Our home is perched at the edge of the great Gila Wilderness in the upper reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert.  A maze of dry mesas, rocky peaks and lush river valleys. Endless and expansive.  

A 500ish mile hike along the Grand Enchantment Trail brought us through the Gila for the first time; we fell in love.  Instantly this land felt at home as though it had been waiting for us forever to lay our feet gently upon her dirt.  Within a few years we chose to live in Truth or Consequences New Mexico because of the Gila.

On this trek long trek we only crossed five paved roads.  We carried water preciously knowing ever drop is to be cherished and hoping with blind faith there was water at the next point we thought there would be water. Thirst became known.

A considerable amount of our leisure has been given to exploring the greater Gila over the last decade and yet there is always so much more mystery just down another canyon.  Time stands still here and existence is given over to the birds, trout, snakes, lizards, coyote, elk, bear, wolf, deer, javelina and all mighty squirrel. (these, with extra fluffy ears) Beaver, racoon and eagles.  Trees. Ancient Trees. Wise Trees. Beautiful Trees.

Life flourishes in the Gila where there is water. Life stubbornly abides everywhere else. Eyes closed on the rim rocks of a fork of the Gila River, the river sounds below rush up, greeting the wind-sky sounds of the mesa top resulting in the resonant sound of time.

Our experiences in these mountains, and mesas, and canyons inform all that we make; there is a part of the Gila in everything we make.

We visited the Gila a few days ago and found it dry this year like we have never known it to be.  The Southwest is dry.  The west is dry.  Fires loom on the horizon, smoke lingers if you squint into the sunset.  We are worried for this place left to observe helplessly the cycle of time we now live in.  

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