"Microcosm of Taos" by Bradley
Alone. In the quiet desert, you can hear the stirrings of a poet’s soul, yearning for another, for the precise words to paint her world with — upon the canvases of life. Evolution does not play favorites within these unmerciful lands, But it is the art that strives and defeats death — Natural Selection’s nemesis, the only way to immortality. These are hungry and desperate lands: the barren mountains, that dance for rain in the dust storm. These lands are our mirrors within the mind.
Alone. If you stay still long enough, you can hear the crackling of lizards scuttling between prickly-pear cacti and purple wood sage. For authentic narratives exists within the solitude but not dependent upon it. You are not alone, like the lizard, though, for inside the spheres reverberations, our ancestors drift in the winds and come in spurts of rainfall to wash away the unrelenting heat. For even roots crawl within the dry body of the desert, connecting us all to their electrochemical secrets. You have to listen carefully. Sometimes they hide in scarlet to violet amalgamated sunsets.
Alone. You are washed clean. You find the right words dancing upon your cortex, waiting to emerge into the world to say, “I have found a new path among the chaos, a new tranquil meditation among the madness of society!” Those words, once drowned out by car horns, police sirens, politicians mixing truths with lies, dissension for freedom, now have a place to breathe. They speak not just to you, but other lost voyagers in search of sustenance beyond just food or water or shelter. The Taos Mesa is the land of quatrains, jazz beats, and Coltrane melodies that unveil revelations in a solitary fig tree.
Alone. I think of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, standing like Ares over the sea of sage. The blood of a thousand hearts once percolated inside these lands. You stare down into the void of the Rio Grande Gorge and ponder dinosaurs and what world they had seen. The gorge — millions of years chiseled by water streams, floods, pressure, and time — just like us. This gorge teaches each of us lonely wanderers that we are but stewards, specs of atoms, and light-reflecting her most authentic forms.
Alone. We are but stories, myths told at campfire twilight to curious children, smiles bright and eyes alight. We are the dead, with beating hearts and telepathic empathy. We are the ancient ones, the new ones, the foolish ones. We have transformed this world but not conquered her. The Rio Grande Gorge has shown us actual conquering: pressure, time, geological change, and water thrones. We watch. We measure. We examine its impossible beauty and continuous growth of truths — self-similarity in every exhalation.
Alone. I travel here every couple of years to find myself in the earth and Milky Way twilights. I watch as storms rumble in through the vast mountainside. There is something there in the dark clouds and electromagnetic discharge and ionization channels. What secrets does it showcase about the cosmos? For some reason, watching the release of this luminous mystery, I don’t feel alone. By my side are all my friends and lovers, family, and strangers waiting to be characters in my story, too. Someday, I will find my family among the distorted light cones and mental singularities. My heart heals one day at a time in the ghosts of the desert and the place of a slowly humming song. Life exhales anew out here, where the creative soul of our minds abides in the metaphorical tundra.
Alone. I have not left the world behind but only emerged myself within Nature’s place among the trees and vines and coyote’s desperate howls. I am the beetles scampering upon the cracked and broken ground. I am the swallowtail looking for a flower. I am the Jerusalem crickets praying to rain gods. I am the ants, following the chemical pathways to their own underground Eden. I am the mycelium growing in the darkest of places.
Alone. I feel life and death ebbing through my porous body. The cathedral of atoms is more of a quantum quilt than anything. Am I just spin foam of networks forever in flux? An emergent property fo illusory lust? I feel the loss of universes within every stop. My heart thrums. And with each beat, I become the grief that has plagued my lands since birth. I see them, the ghosts of the past and loved ones in the desert. This nonlinear process, like tsunamis and tornado rage, is my time machine. I mourn you all. I see my best friend, my grandmother, and my sister. I see my uncles, who I loved like father’s waving back to me. I see them all — pieces of me that I lost, now, here again within the Mesa. I write these words to say goodbye. But in my being, I know, I cannot let you go completely. For you are a part of me, weaved together like those spin networks of sub-atomic particles. I emerge from my sorrows. I emerge from my love — those will-o’-the-wisp ponderings.
Alone. My narrative transcribed in Promethean fires of love and desire and the resolution to surmise and grasp all bits of knowledge. I understand now that it is not time that ages a person but regret. And it is not the deaths that keep me stuck in time, but the inability to let go of those ghosts in the desert — the relentless voice that wants nothing more than to rewind all the clocks and start again. But there are no do-overs. There is just the now. In the now you must love as much as you can. You must gift the world with your beauty and kindness and ever-changing art. In the now, you must be another path to hope. And now, I must accept my inevitable metamorphosis and take to a new sky.
Alone. I hear dry ground teaching me the wisdom of the ancients.
Alone. I become the desert.
Alone. I become Me.
Alone. I heal with my return to the world, to another’s embrace. I understand now that I heal when I share myself authentically with you. The desert makes you face your vulnerability, and through it, you are Osiris, changed by the truths within.
Alone. I become a mountain in existence. And I wonder, do you reach for the same stars as I?
Alone. I listen to the songs of the Mesa and understand that we are never alone in the vast entropic microcosm of life and ourselves.
Editorial comment: On reading Bradley’s essay Microcosm of Taos I could feel the many atoms dancing in my soul, the words take us on a journey, he starts with poet’s soul and later takes us deeper where we can see the sunset and hear the raindrops, he further explains how being alone can cleanse our soul and help us find the answers within. I like how his words travel from one place to another. I wish I could hide in words forever and find more about life, for now, I would stop with this quote from the essay - “Alone. I heal with my return to the world, to another’s embrace. I understand now that I heal when I share myself authentically with you. The desert makes you face your vulnerability, and through it, you are Osiris, changed by the truths within.”