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Grandmother Spider Mountain

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Known in Pueblo language as Tse pi na and in English as Taylor Mountain, Grandmother Spider tailors landscapes up to 11,600 feet near Grants, New Mexico. Illustration by Richard F. Fleck

Early in the morning we walk upwards

through a slanted forest of aspen and fir

and take delight in seeing a blue bird flutter

in open meadows quite soft underfoot.

We approach grassy hummocks reminding

me of ever-so-green Ireland along the Irish Sea.

Bouncing through the hummocks, I seem to be

traversing within a Paul Cezanne landscape-

painting while chickadees sing from higher

snowfields at the crest, and once on top we

stare at one third of New Mexico spreading

far out into desert with minarets of lava flows

stretching out from Grandmother Spider to

the dark malpais like giant cobwebs helping catch rain clouds for crops of corn, squash and

melons in the fields of the pueblos so far below.