The world has changed. Do we mourn? Or love what’s still here?
It’s a crisp, late fall morning in Santa Fe. Larry Rasmussen, a Lutheran lay minister, and I sit side-by-side at his kitchen table. Sometimes we look at one another. But mostly we both look out the picture window. The sky is an iconic cerulean blue, and songbirds flit about the backyard: Birdfeeder to fence post to birdfeeder and hop, hop, around and around again.
More than a decade ago, Rasmussen retired from New York City’s Union Theological Seminary. He and his wife now live off Old Pecos Trail. From this window, they can watch a forest in transition.
Nowadays, that’s how we talk about trees that are dying. Trees that smell like vanilla when you press your face close in warm sunlight. Trees whose sticks and split trunks have been fed for generations into cooking fires and wood stoves. The juniper and piñon wood smoke that wafts through cities and towns today is the same that’s filled the air since Pueblo people settled along the Rio Grande centuries ago.