Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anarita and the BLM Land

Anarita walked down the side of a sandy gully and up the other side. In the span of less than 50 steps, 50 breaths, she had passed from "her" land to no man's land, or rather, BLM land. No fence, no post with pink flag, nothing that she could see marked the boundary. The boundary was a figment of imagination, just as was the idea that one side of the gully belonged to her family. It was only a delusion that people with sheets of paper and exchanges of money all agreed to together. Enough people or powerful enough people agreed there was a boundary where clearly none existed. What would the world be like if no one agreed to such things? Who was the first guy who came up with the ridiculous notion of owning something that had been there before him and would be there after him?

Her parents would own the land by the BLM land for a few years, via payments. For a few years, the family would camp there, gaze at stars, and watch the dogs run around. It was magical; it had petrified wood, free-range cattle would wander onto it, and a few times the Christmas Tree would come from it. But for Joe, the magic ended when he left a small trailer there with a few board games, camping gear, etc., and it was broken into and robbed. He sold the land that people agreed to imagine somehow belonged to him, and so they stopped imagining it.

The BLM land felt hotter and wilder than the other side of the gully. It had a faster, noisier wind. It had lots of holes in its loose dirt next to more Yucca than on "her" side. She heard a buzzing sound in the wind. She looked for the insects, but saw none. She examined the holes, and decided some animals had made them, but maybe not - they could've been dug, as if someone were looking for something, prospecting.

But the buzzing sounded more like whispering or chanting. Who had walked here before? Where they speaking to her now, threatening her for being on the wrong side of the gully? Or inviting her to stay and listen to some important message? A dust-devil jumped up a short ways ahead of her and then evaporated. She could see the dancer in the dust, encircling her. The haunting mesa was spooky but she didn't want to leave - she wanted to stay and listen, to solve the mystery, or become part of it.

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