Between Roswell and Mountainair, in New Mexico, there is enough open space to house millions of people, plus livestock.
Land stretches from the road as far as you can see. Whether the planet is running out of space or just resources needed to support seven billion people is a topic for early morning radio talk shows.
The horizon is distant and telephone poles and barbed wire fences, ancient technology, crowd this rural highway along with an occasional grouping of cattle, old crumbling farmhouses, windmills with blades missing like a kid’s front tooth.
We wave at the few drivers that pass us going towards Roswell.. A road marker advertises Gran Quivera National Monument and Richard takes an exit to get us a look at the historical site.
People lived here long before Pilgrims, long before Columbus. When the Conquistadors came, in the fifteen hundreds, to search for gold, to claim land for their King, to convert Indians to Catholicism, there was conflict. In 1680, a Pueblo Revolt sent the new invaders packing until they returned with even more deadly force.
What is left of this Pueblo are the walls of an old Spanish church, without its roof, and numerous fallen rock walls of homes on the hillsides around the church.
It would have been strange for the Indians to learn a new religion, kneel at a cross, drink wine, eat wafers. Their Gods were of nature and their vision of creation and man’s place in it was different than those of their conquerors.
Stacking rocks and building walls in an open paradise would have been intolerable.
New Mexico is about open space.
You can’t live here without realizing land survives.
Conquerors are, in good time, conquered.