by Jnana Hodson

Someday I’ll learn the identities of clouds. Buy the chart, memorize their qualities and forms, and then watch the flowing sky afresh. This is, after all, yet another strand of mapping.

From childhood, I’ve absorbed maps. Mind travel. Concepts augmented by photographs and writings, which have often furnished a sense a such familiarity that when I arrive in a new place, strangers stop me to ask directions, even on my inaugural visit. Foliage, waters, buildings, and people fill in the lines of his maps as they stretch toward some new border. But this move, with its desert, has been an exception. Nothing’s been predictable or particularly comforting. Besides, I experience a vague agitation when venturing to the edge of my known universe. If possible, when visiting new locale, I push out a few miles further, to determine what’s over the next ridge or river — or at least down the road — as if to anchor myself within some context, rather than remain at its periphery. Curiously, I feel more secure when placing that border at some shoreline or rise — countryside, at the least — rather than within seemingly endless tracts of housing, factories, stores, and pavement. Even a round earth has places where monsters may lurk. Gaps exist in any map. Consider the clouds. Everything is, after all, changing. Even that rock, where Kokopelli is sitting.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.