After arriving in the Albuquerque airport from San Diego, we had decided to drive directly to Jemez Springs and soak in the hot springs there. We had hoped to also dip in the Jemez River behind the springs, but there was a heavy flow of debris and mud from runoff after thunderstorms at the Concha scar, a recently burned area in the Jemez mountains upstream. Afterwards, we drove across the mountains to Santa Fe, many memories of previous trips through the Jemez, both bitter and sweet arose, from my early 20’s up to my honeymoon with Edith here 25 years ago. I also remember when David Bowie starred in the famous movie “The Man Who Fell To Earth” here back in 1976. What had impressed me the most was how these beautiful mountains had been decimated by repetitive fires over the last two decades. Just this year, another large swath of beautiful conifer forest had been destroyed by fires, after yet another dry winter and unusually warm springtime. The beetle bark disease continued to destroy even more trees weakened by the drought. The Bandelier National Monument, which I used to hike in and camp out in the caves years ago, was now largely denuded of trees, and you have to take a shuttle in from nine miles away. As it turned out, on the plane out here Rolling Stone had published a frightening article about how fire seasons were getting worse and worse in the West. In nearby Arizona, nearly 25% of the ponderosa pine forest had been destroyed. With all this, austerity measures in state budgets cripple conservation and fire-fighting efforts, and pristine land continues to be developed for housing and mineral rights. Are we so self-destructive that we are willing to destroy the very Earth that sustains us? Over almost forty years, my eyes have witnessed this horrible environmental destruction.
Ironically as we reached Santa Fe, a heavy thunderstorm hit, and as it turned out the summer monsoon season had brought very welcome rain.
The Nanjing states that the ‘superior physician heals the diseases of society.” But for the Chinese medical physician, this task is greater than ever, as we struggle to find the necessary medicine for our planet. As Deepak Chopra pointed out in a recent lecture at UCSD Integrative Medicine Center, everyone has residues from toxic chemicals (pollution and pesticides, pharmaceutical residues in soil and water), lodged in our organs and tissues.
We do not exist separately from the natural world around us. This message is what brought me to live in New Mexico/Southwestern U.S. four decades ago. The relatively unpopulated wilderness here inspired and continues to inspire me to practice a natural form of medicine, i.e. classical Chinese medicine, and understand the world view of the Neijing. I come here whenever I can to remember our connection with the natural world. But our industrial and technological activities, synthetic chemicals and pesticides, massive factory farms, breeding of plants and animals, and mass cutting of essential forests has changed the earth beyond recognition. The poles are warming and melting, and politicians just encourage more consumption of resources. How long before the entire ocean is a sea of plastic?