Sunday, 24 March 2013


There is a sand dune on the road to Fort Sumner.

The surrounding terrain is a devil's playground of parched red dirt and parched blue sky, punctuated by the mesquite tentacles bursting from the Earth like petrified zombie fingers.

When I drive by the sand dune, I have to wonder where humans have gone, or if they still exist.

View from the dune (Susan Merle).
Fort Sumner is where William Antrim and pals returned to dust. There is a dry gulch and a dry lake; dry homestead ruins, and everywhere the ghosts of water. If NASA sent a probe here instead of to Mars, it would return the same result: ingredients to support life may have once existed. Almost. 

In a past life down a different road, I couldn't leave my door without running into masses of people. There were people in the hall, people in the lift, people on the sidewalk, people in the train. Somehow in all that heaving, rain-drenched sea of people I never got tired of people.

In a past life, I used to say that I had no interest in going to space. Visiting Mars would be silly, because there wouldn't be any people there. I couldn't imagine a more unspeakably lonely feeling than setting foot on the moon, then turning around to catch a glimpse of the human Earth so very far away.

In a past life, I didn't realize that you don't always have to leave the Earth to find yourself on the moon.


  1. It sounds kinda marvelous where you are. And what a fabulous word gulch is.

  2. Marvelous doesn't immediately spring to mind. More like Dust Bowl. Or perhaps End of the Earth.

  3. Bavarian Sojourn24 March 2013 at 18:03

    Hope you're OK... I can often feel like that in our little Bavarian village, nothing for miles around, and then the people I do spot speak a kind of alien language, tis not easy sometimes!

  4. Thanks Emma - I'm okay - just a bit fed up with dust and human distance. Funny how that alien language thing can even happen in one's mother tongue.