Saturday, July 9, 2011


I'm on a bit of a road trip from L.A. to New Mexico.

I drove 562 miles today, which included hours through the boiling hot East Mojave during which I was afraid my tires would melt, followed by hours of lightning storms, a brief burst of hail, and rain so torrential whole lines of people were pulling over to the side with their flashers on.

I actually got off the freeway and sat for awhile by the side of a cow field scarfing down vegetable chips and praying I didn't drown in a flash flood.

I wheeled into Holbrook, Arizona just in time to check into the Hotel 6 and zip down to Our Lady of Guadalupe for 5:30 Mass. The priest gave a beautiful homily on the parable of the sower and the seed (Matthew 13:1-23) and how the point of the parable is the power of the word of God, that the word of God is unbelievably powerful. But in order to take root it needs us. God doesn't just work magic. Our hearts have to be open and the soil has to be prepared so that we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Afterward I had a nice walk around the old part of town.  Several folks waved and yelled hi from their porches.  found the VFW, the cemetery, City Hall, and a ton of broken down mom-and-pop hotels, which was really nice. Down at the bandstand they were having a county fair which included a lot of frighteningly fattening food and a series of Native American dances.

People are poor and I saw a Native guy passed out drunk in front of the insurance office, clutching his cane, and I felt so sad at what we did. Just decimated entire cultures and peoples. Who could come back from that?


  1. Bravo to Jamaican priests! A bit less enthusiasm for that awful weather you encountered.

    About the photographs: Rocks, wholesale?

    And the night sky above those traffic lights in the penultimate photograph is absolutely lovely.

    Safe travel, Heather! May St Christopher be with you!

  2. thanks, Dylan, that's probably my favorite of the lot, too--Hopi Boulevard and that's my dear little car on the street, too!
    Happy poetry writing...

  3. Heather, my ex-husband and I were stranded once in Holbrook at Christmas time. We had had a road accident and we couldn't find a way to get out of town. It was bitter cold. One morning, we learnt that two Natives had passed out drunk on the road and froze to death during the night. But the locals, who were downing 50 cent Bloody Mary's at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, quickly assured that that happens only to "Injuns".

  4. As with all your posts I am amazed at your skill of communicating deep meaning in the simplest of things. Your traveling companion, St. Therese, is surely showering you with roses. I also agree with everything dylan said. :-)

  5. Thinking of that poor, drunk Indian man and what we did to to the Native Americans.
    We're doing it to Muslims now.
    Take care, Heather.

  6. I'm just considering how to get my spirit camp community (Iroquois) to allow me to make a documentary about their tradition, their lost nation. Your comments on the waste in the native american community from our taking over their land. . . hits home
    (Amanda @Try God)
    Now is the time of Sun Dance, where the annual pilgrimage to make sacrifice before the Great Spirit is happening.
    safe driving and looking forward to more tales from the front. xo

  7. Christine—“Stranded in Holbrook for Christmas” is at LEAST the title of a short story…
    Amanda, a documentary on the Iroquois—I want to hear more when I get back to town…yeah, sadly, now we are doing it to the Muslims…and yes, Stephen, St. Therese and St. Christopher and all the angles and saints light the way…

  8. To anonymous #1

    I could agree with you about the American Indians but what in the hell are you talking about in reference to the Muslims? It seems to me they have done much more harm to our way of life than the other way around or haven't you heard about 9-11-01. You should stick to spiritual issues and leave the politics alone!

  9. Oh, see to me, Philip, spirituality and politics are not in any way two separate things. I don’t have “spirituality” for some abstract, theoretical, head-in-my-clouds life, and politics, such as my politics are, for “real” life. I believe authentic spirituality is intensely practical and that non-violence “works”—in the long run—and that the problem is not non-violence but that we are too afraid to practice it.

    I believe in Christ, who undergirds both (and all else) and who very clearly, very loudly, and very consistently said the idea is to lay down your life for your friends, not to kill for them. And then, to show us it’s not impossible, he did it.


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