Jack wrote this in April, 2006:
Hope you’re all giving yourselves plenty of challenges, making lots of decisions that lead to growth experiences.
Things have gone quiet around here, owl-wise, though the hawks still soar overhead days. And the coyotes still howl on the mesas.
Just finished a short trip to western New Mexico on an old-new trail of the Lost Adams Diggings. Rough trip in some ways, because it brought to mind memories of a lot of other trips into that country with men now dead.
But it was physically a reminder of how old this vehicle’s becoming.
Climbing and unclimbing mesas, digging and scraping samples from streambeds, toting them back out to work them down into concentrates for closer examination, all just become the tap on the shoulder gravity gives a man insisting he slow down.
The trip didn’t answer a lot of questions, but it created enough to cause me to know more trips in there will be required.
Meanwhile, back here in the village, the rich old man up the hill behind me evidently has an enemy. Someone decapitated a rabbit just before Easter and left it on his porch.
Might be because he’s rich and cantankerous, or because he’s said to be miserly and difficult to collect from if a person’s only a mere workman. Or it might be because he’s all the above, which a number of old villagers are, but also he has the distinction of being an Anglo.
The accident of birth that gives a person ancestors who spoke English and had pinkish skin is a difficult sin for the majority of New Mexicans to forgive.
The Hispanics, who hold all the power, speak the same language as the Conquistadors, Cortez and Coronado, but see themselves as having been robbed of their conquests and rendered downtrodden by white-skinned invaders from the East.
The Native Americans generally just know someone conquered them, but because we’re all born innocent of memory, have evidently forgotten who did the conquering.
For a while I occasionally used to drive around in a borrowed truck with “WHITEY WILL PAY” bumper-stickered on the tinted glass back window. As a whitish sort of fellow, I found my feelers a little ruffled with all the thumbs-ups and raised-fist salutes I got from Hispanic and Native American types.
I generally don’t feel I’ve done anything negative to Hispanics, nor Native Americans. My conscience is clear.
I had a distant kinsman mountain-man who wandered into Santa Fe around 1805, and was held captive for 20-odd years by the Spaniard government (ancestors to the folks who are here today), but I don’t hold it against them.
Let bygones be bygones, I say.
Fact is, old James Purcell’s problems ain’t mine. I was lucky enough to be allowed to find problems of my own.
His didn’t happen to me.
Same as when Onate cut the foots off all the adult males of the tribe of rebellious Acomas in 1600 something-or-other, which makes Acomas do a lot of whining and complaining today, it wasn’t me did it, and it wasn’t people alive today it happened to.
You don’t hear me complaining about not having the same rights and advantages of Native Americans, no free health care, never having to have a steady job my entire life, being born into a wealth of land I pay no taxes on.
You won’t hear me complaining I can’t open a casino.
And you won’t hear me complain because my distant pore old mountain-man kinsman, James Purcell, got thrown in the hoosegow just because he came to town. Didn’t do nuthun but be an English speaking man with white skin.
I was born naked. Those aren’t my troubles.