Monday, January 28, 2013

First There Is A Mountain, Then There Is No Mountain, Then There Is

Space and time is not something everyone experiences in the same way, not in 2013 and not ever. Some people can read and make maps, some swear by GPS, some swear at GPS, some travel by instinct, some by using guidestars or landmarks. Personally, I enjoy mixing it up and like to try each different way "from time to time" (what an expression, when you think about it -- which is another expression, come to think of it -- yet another expression).

Once upon a time, I was looking for the Isleta Pueblo and had come off the "freeway" aka "highway" to a "back road" (how old these expressions must be, ones that we still use without much thought as to origins).

And at that time, I came across a woman working at a little country store in what seemed like "the middle of nowhere." After chatting with her for a few minutes, I learned that she'd "grown up" in Isleta Pueblo.

Now she gave "odd" directions that relied on key landmarks, without concern for measurable distances or approximate times that I could "normally" determine by quick calculations involving velocity and space.

She said something like this: "Go that way (pointing) along the main track until you cross a stream. Then curve around with the rise on the other side until you see another track. Take that to the right and when you come over a large hill you'll see the white mission on the horizon. Head for it and you will be arriving right inside the Isleta Pueblo."

I did exactly as she suggested and presto, found myself arriving right inside the Isleta Pueblo, right on the edge of a large square facing San Agustín de la Isleta Mission, established four hundred years ago. Turns out this was about a ten mile drive from the little country store.

At Isleta, the pueblo grounds were established sometime in the 1300s. Now that's what I call having some serious history to contemplate. The above photo, taken in 1937, gives a pretty good idea of what parts of Isleta look like early in the 21st century, still. Amazing. How did I get there? By a brief description of key landmarks that still mark the land and "point the way."

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey, John P. O'Neill, Photographer. March 7, 1937. Isleta Pueblo, Bernalillo County, NM. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Today's Rune: Partnership.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

It's so hard for us to even recognize these expressions for what they are because we are so familiar with them. I see this in my student writing all the time, and in my own as well. Good to have it pointed out to us. Great post.