Feb 15 • 2M

Dry, Hair Whipping Air

Roswell, New Mexico

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Homecoming is a newsletter of short essays and poems, exploring the meaning of home through a journey across America. Homecoming is a cry for a world in the midst of a meaning crisis. In a time when identity is being fought for by advertisers and campaigners; when we’ve traded in family and place-based community and the tech that’s supposed to connect us only makes us more disconnected; when God has been discarded and what’s put in place simply cannot hold, it can be hard to know what's real and true. What does it really mean to be home? And what does it take to find it? These essays may not read in chronological order. Some names, dates & places have been changed from the otherwise non-fictional stories.
Episode details

Driving south from Santa Fe, hot, dusty wind knots my hair and throws sand into my eyes. There’s a layer of cloudy white on the sea-like horizon. I cannot find even an ounce of green. Large industrial trucks sail on the freeways like sailboats on the open sea. Oil rigs out in the distance look like sparkling steel cities that make the air smell of burnt oil and rotten eggs.

Then, like an island, something appears which is living. Roswell comes suddenly and is green-faced, black almond-shaped eyed, flying saucer, UFO territory. Quick, make sure you don’t miss it cause in a blink, the city is gone.

Roswell comes suddenly and is green-faced, black almond-shaped eyed, flying saucer, UFO territory.

Downtown is back-to-back Alien themed chain restaurants, museums and tourist shops. A family fights the dust storm to take selfies with a life-sized alien statue in front of McDonald’s. On an old black box TV in the UFO Museum, I watch stories of those witnesses who have come back to earth from the belly of the beast, the insides of hovering saucers, or who with restraint confess that they’ve come face to face with those creatures while hiking in the desert.

Off the main drag, are abandoned houses with roofs caving in, stray dogs, a cemetery and children pushing shopping carts down the middle of streets. Boarded up windows. Sulfur and hot, dry, hair whipping air.

How to build a home when the earth beneath your feet is a resource that others take from. Oil rigs suck up oil like drawing blood from arteries. How to build a home when the land under your feet is an attraction, magnetizing people who come to see what they want to see, then leave. How to build a home when the earth is dust, fine with nothing for roots to hold onto.