More recently, a Pueblo friend was out walking near my home in the New Mexico desert, trying to ease his dismay regarding a local dispute. Encountering a boulder covered in crinkly red and gray lichens, he inadvertently focused his eyes on a patch of lichen and then suddenly heard the rock addressing him, offering the grounded wisdom of a presence far more ancient than himself.

The experience is oddly similar to that with our morning newspaper: We let our attention be drawn by a particular article, focusing our eyes upon the inert bits of ink on the page, and suddenly we feel ourselves addressed—we hear spoken words, we see visions.

Alphabets as a form of divine animism

Esteban Arellano