By Garrett VeneKlasen
Yesterday, Senator Udall and the staff of Senator Heinrich and Congressman Lujan held a public ceremony at the Taos County Courthouse to officially commemorate the designation of Rio Grande del Norte. Amid all the pomp and hoopla - in a crowd of some 300 people - stood a beautiful little seven year old girl with wondrous, hope-filled eyes.
The tiny Taoseña held a hand-drawn sign. She proudly walked up to Senator Udall and introduced herself as a self proclaimed "fishergirl."
Even at her tender young age, the river and its surrounding land had already profoundly defined her very being - and she was determined to let the Senator hear about it in her own simple, yet no less powerful words.
We as adults have all been so caught up in this campaign, that we sometimes forget this magnificent, omnipotent landscape is what has and will always collectively define and ground us. Some for only a short time. Others for countless generations over many thousands of years. It is the very center of us as individual Taoseños and as the community as a whole. And sometimes it takes a seven year old to put things like that into perspective.
Eustice Conway said it best about wild country in his biography, The Last American Man:
"There is only one truth to be found - no lies, no shams, no illusions, no hypo racy. Just a truthful place, where all beings are governed by a set of perfect laws that have never changed and never will..."
Indeed, Que Viva Rio Grande del Norte!