Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Sunday, May 08, 2005


"God created Dune to test the faithful"

This phrase often goes through my head when I am traveling home. The desert has always been one of mankind's great teachers.

The Road Home

If you go quite some ways down this road, you will come to the place where I grew up. The few times I have taken people home with me from the "Great White World" they have been taken aback by the seeming starkness of the environment.

I am reminded of another phrase from Dune,
"The Kitab Al-Ibar, The Manual of the Friendly Desert,
the place full of life. Believe, and Al-Lat shall never burn you."
That is always how I think of the place where I grew up, the friendly desert, the place full of life.

The desert is completely unforgiving, one mistake, one action out of harmony with her and it can cost you your life. Folks from "civilization" come to the desert with all manner of hi-tech equipment to insulate themselves from the reality of the environment, they even bring their homes on wheels, complete with TV and wet bar, and still the desert claims a few of them every year.

Hidden Places

Unless you know where to look you will never find the secret places where water gives life to the dry land. Where the abundant wildlife and the green growing plants find what they need to nurture life in the desert.

Red Rock Canyons

You might be walking a hundred yards from one of these secret places and never notice if you don't know what to look for. Much of the South West is a big plateau, with deep canyons cut by rainfall and snow melt. If you can't read the land you may never find one of the life giving canyons.

The Peaks
Of course my home is not all desert. When you make the word for Apache in sign language, you first make the sigh for person (rather than Anglo or Mexican) and then the sign for mountain.

The mountains are sacred, they are a place of refuge, and they are where the Gan, the mountain spirits live.

sacred Hoop

If you walk quietly through the trees you might come across a "medicine wheel" at a place where someone stopped to pray, to connect with God and the spirit of the place, to seek a vision.

White House

And everywhere you go you see the places of the Old Ones, the Anasazi, who were here for thousands of years, and who are in fact still here.


Their towns are found in the most unlikely places, and the stories of who they were are passed down from generation to generation.


And they wrote about themselves on the cliff walls, leaving the stories of their lives and what they understood about the universe for anyone who can read them.

tse biyaa anii'ahi

Here I am, standing at the center of the world.

When I think about these things sometimes I get homesick.



Anonymous said...


This post was right up my alley, thank you. You know, my husband and I went out the the petroglyphs outside of Albq. once and he was joking around about them saying "look, I just saw a 3 year old draw that one", to which I became very mad and chastized him, of course. These areas are so sacred and I was really mad at him for poking fun at it. That night we went home and he had a dream that everyone around him was turning into demons.

Payback's a bitch. ;)


(btw, has anyone ever commented on a post that was 5 years old, on your blog before?)

Mushtaq Ali said...

There were actually quite a few comments to the early posts, but but I used to use another commenting service because blogger was a bit rudimentary back then.

At one point the blog came under attack by a couple of right wing KKK type anti Muslim trolls. I needed to switch to something with a bit more muscle to block them out. The downside was that I lost a fair number of comments.