Friday, June 27, 2008

Keeping in touch n the global village...

LAS CRUCES — The realization we are living in a global village is never more obvious than during times of trouble.
It all came home with a shock when I was holed up for the weekend, glued to the TV and the telephone, monitoring rising floodwaters around Iowa City, a pretty little Midwestern university town that also happens to be the home base for my soulmate, Dr. Roger.
We realized we were both watching the same national network anchor commenting and showing us pictures of University of Iowa students stacking sandbags in an attempt to protect university buildings. And we shared a sense of surreal communion, he a few miles away from the raging river, me in high, dry New Mexico.
During a lull in the deluge, I decided to take a break and call grandson Alexander the Great, who now makes his home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
As fate would have it, I reached my comadre, instead, Alex’s other grandmom, Alexandria Brighton.
Alexandria had just talked with her Las Cruces daughters and asked me for an update on the fires in the Organ Mountains.
“WHAT fires?” I asked with a shock.
With the local heat and the angst over distant floods, I’d spent almost all of the weekend inside my house, and though I’d noticed a smoky smell blasting through the evaporative cooling ducts, I’d figured someone in the neighborhood was grilling something and hadn’t given it much thought.
Alexandria suggested I step out on my back patio and check things out. I did, and, sure enough, what looked like a white puffy atomic cloud was billowing above those familiar craggy peaks.
I called a friend who lives in Soledad Canyon and learned she’d just gone through a very tense night, wondering if she’d have to evacuate.
I offered her my guest room and apologized for not getting in touch sooner, admitting it had taken a phone conversation with someone in Idaho to alert me to what was going on in my own backyard. And I’m supposed to be in the news biz, after all.
It was not, alas, a first, in terms of convoluted communication, which is increasingly wacky in our global village.
When my childhood Michigan next-door neighbor showed up in Las Cruces, we discovered, though we had been out of touch for decades, that we were again neighbors. Linda found me by following my Las Cruces Style column in the Sun-News and putting clues together, though she did not know my married name.
We reconnected and found we were then living within a block of each other in Las Alturas.
Yet when her husband, a prominent Michigan businessman, died, it was my brother who first e-mailed me the sad news from Michigan, as soon as he read about it on the Muskegon Chronicle’s online Web site.
I was recalling all this last week as I started to tell a usually very well-informed friend from Albuquerque about the impact of fires in the Organs.
“WHAT fires in the Organs? We never seem to get news from southern New Mexico up here,” she complained.
So I immediately e-mailed her the most dramatic fire photo I had, which I’d just received from my friend in … New York City. Cecilia Lewis said she’d received the photo from Buddy Ritter, who told me he’d gotten it from Joe Taylor. After a flurry of e-mail and online inquiries, I’m still not sure of the photo’s origins.
These days, the trails could take you around the planet several times before landing in your own home town. Instant connections are swift and plentiful and profound in our global village. And someone in Idaho might alert you that the mountains are burning in your New Mexico backyard.
So this weekend, no matter how hot it gets, I’ve resolved to get out and do an in-person, real-time, 360-degree scan of my local horizons ...
Or at least, check my e-mail every day.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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