El Valle, NM
With blazing yellow cottonwood leaves along El Rio de las Trampas as a backdrop, the Westies immersed ourselves in a writing workshop with author Bill DeBuys at his home in Northern New Mexico. Bill authored our summer reading book, A Great Aridness, the story of climate change in the Southwest. During a discussion of the book with Bill, we focused on how to enact political reform around climate change. Bill emphasized educating and organizing, with education focusing on political activism. Another of Bill’s books, The Walk, came alive for us. We traveled the route described in his memoir, making stops to discuss the land grant controversy, forest health, signs of ancient inhabitants, and stream hydrology. We came to write, and Bill taught us about writing the character profile. Focusing on the voice, detail, and irony, Bill taught us to capture the spirit of people we have met this semester. In his closing words, Bill said that as long as there is beauty then the important work of preserving it exists. Nature writing, he told us, has the ability to capture, share, and preserve beauty.
By Allison Bolgiano