Today I spent some time exploring the mountains southeast of San Diego.

I am in love. But I’m often falling in love with the more-than-human relatives of new places. I’m kind of easy that way.

These mountains are so diverse. The beauty is ever-changing. It is not lost on me that these lands have supported Indigenous communities since time immemorial.

One minute, the hills would be lush and green, with mossy verdant hills catching my eye and spirit, the next minute I would be in hills decorated by varying shades of brown, brush low and close to the earth.

One minute the rocks and stone formations showed as rounded and flowing beings, and then I would find myself in a land of jagged, cracked stones. All massive. All beautiful and powerful in their own distinct way.

Suddenly, as I came around a corner, I spotted an ugly brown structure cutting through this gorgeous terrain. At first, I couldn’t reconcile my mind to accept what I knew it was.

The wall.

For a minute, I thought about pulling over and taking a picture of it. Just for a minute. Then I decided that wasn’t something I wanted memorialized in my photo stream.

Ten minutes later I experienced my first border patrol checkpoint inland of the border. It dawned on me why I had seen so many border patrol vehicles. I hadn’t realized how close to Mexico I was. What border? Why? How can one separate these mountains? Even though it might appear they are different, they are so beautifully inter-woven, like a tapestry.

This land, so beautiful, so ancient, where people have lived, loved, cooked, hunted, celebrated, in many languages and with different but similar rituals. Marred by the ugliness of a false border. Separating the flow of humanity. Castrating the force of human development and perpetuating the narrative of “other”.

How we don’t make space for those we don’t understand, is ugly. It’s disrupting to the natural flow of human development.

And yet, the beauty and diversity of our mother, our more-than-human relatives, persists with ancient wisdom and strength.

I was blessed with visits from a sweet little finch, a flock of pelicans flying overhead, a condor, a coyote and a raven.

Earlier in the day, I spent a good amount of time at the beach, watching the pacific roll and roil, bringing in a new energy. I listened, or…more precisely, I tried to listen to what this new energy might want to say … but I was also thinking about all my friends back home, marching together. Thinking about my friends putting their hand and feet on the abused and degraded soil at the Port of Tacoma.

While I was so many miles away, separated by space, they were with me. The heart, when cared for and attended to, is a wide open range, with room for everyone, no matter how broad the diversity.

I hate having the image of the wall in my psyche, but I’m so grateful for all the other images I have of the land, the rocks, the sky, the water, the clouds, the trees, the more-than-human relatives who call the Laguna mountains home.

I sang the water song, prayed and put down tobacco at the water, and then I did the same thing up in the mountains. Today was a good day, and I’m grateful.

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Twylia (the 'i' is silent)

~ I am Anishinaabe-kwe with Scottish heritage and Sami DNA. I speak on the behalf of no one but myself. My ancestors inform and guide me. My voice is but one of many who are calling for change. We have much work to do to create a good space for the real human beings who are waiting to be born.

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