If you find yourself in El Paso, Texas, venture to Scenic Drive Overlook, known affectionately for the young adults indulging in the forbidden, or the vendors consistently stocked with paletas and chicharrones, and fix your gaze south. You will see The Expanse. If you've timed your visit right, and the sun is at rest and the ghosts begin their dance, you will see, in The Expanse, only lights. And you will not know where your land ends and where theirs begins. How could you? But, when the day is fresh and the ghosts seek shelter, voices will tell you that this land is our land; it is not their land. They are The Others, they will say.
The Expanse imparted its lessons to me. My community lay five miles from the slaughter of over 370 mothers and daughters. They told me, That land is not ours, pay no attention. Then, at the turn of the decade, my neighbor — an entire city, burned to the ground. For a period, eight of my neighbors were slain each day. Don't go there, that is not our land, they continued. I pleaded, But are they not us and are we not them? How can an imaginary line breed negligence and indifference in us to succor our own neighbors?
Ten years later and in the high desert of New Mexico, The Expanse knows no end, and just as the lights, seen from Scenic Drive, veil political boundaries, so too, are the intangible boundaries clouded wherever I travel. The desire to categorize, to create boundaries, is insidious. Its consequences are real, are more palpable than ever, and have been embraced by authority. My hope, through this collective, is to equip myself, the Sherwood Desert Crew, and our visitors, with clearer lenses, so that we can expose the boundaries as frauds and see into The Expanse, always. The vastness of The Expanse humbles and reminds us that each of us is as small as those specks of light.