This #WednesdayWisdom, we turn to Rudolfo Anaya and what many consider one of the cornerstones of the Chicano literary canon, Bless Me, Ultima.

Perhaps it’s the controversial holiday which approaches next Monday or perhaps it is just having grown up in the Southwest (and in a world so heavily influenced by Empire), but Anaya’s words here seem to carry so much meaning.

How short is the distance between discovery and the setting up of a perimeter? How often do we wander into something new only to look immediately at where best we might plant our flag? I, in some ways, get it. I am married and would give my life for my wife. But must I defend every idea, every material thing, every…. fraction of a pixel of a dot (as Carl Sagan would have said) with the same ferocity?

And what happens when we do defend things in such a way? The songs grow sad, and each generation remembers the moment where something was taken. (Far, far fewer songs exist about those moments when things were first shared.) I’ve written before (and most certainly will again) about the crushing losses I’ve suffered in the name of never forgetting. For all the things we should always hold dear, there are narratives I’ve borne that should never have awkwardly become my end all.

I do not criticize others for their right to sing the songs of loss, but if we can coexist in a way where that next generation might hum a different tune…… Count me in.

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