Pilgrimage - Story, Place, Spirit, Witness


Welcome to your season of returning light! First off: this is not the "death-themed issue" that some of my friends had assumed it to be. Perish the thought! Rather, I'm wondering what threads bind past to present, departed to living, and ethereal to corporeal. The threads themselves, rather than simply the reality of either condition, are what I'm out to explore. The connective tissues. The bridging bodies. Our writers and artists of the Greater Southwest (and beyond!) reveal these threads/connections/bridges in the lives of owls, horses, children and mountains. They also attend to the physiological connection between the living and the dead made by our participation in the food chain and our dependence on fossils and trees for our own lives' fuel and shelter.

The phrasing for our current theme, "Between the Dead and the Living," comes from an entry in Charles Darwin's journal. Therein, he expresses delight and wonder at similarities between South American fossil species and living South American animals. He's certain "this wonderful relationship in the same continent between the dead and the living" will, more than any other line of inquiry, illuminate the mystery of "the appearance of organic beings on our earth and their disappearance from it." Beloved organic beings do disappear, but they also remain: in fossils, stories, evolutionary transformations, lingering memories...a number of the submissions I received were about the passing of family members. Only a few made it into this issue, as I needed room for consideration of the more-than-human world, and the human world extended to the larger human family.

I offer what I hope will be food for the journey—art that probes and celebrates the twinning of what's gone with what's going on.

Maria Melendez
Rock Canyon
Pueblo, Colorado
December 2010


Pilgrimage Magazine, published three times a year, emphasizes themes of place, spirit, peace & justice, in and beyond the Greater Southwest.

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