The ojito is not haunted to my knowledge. I’ve never heard any La Llarona stories, about this place, but that’s not to say she’s never been spotted here. Don’t get me wrong, you feel a presence in the mountains where the acequia tumbles down, but it is more like a whiff of prehistoric history.
The summer I videotaped these scenes, I bushwacked alone up sugarloaf, the first big hill behind the stream. I took a break in the arroyo carved out over the years from the water flowing into the ojito. As I sat on a giant boulder I could easily imagine my resting place to be a prehistoric campsite. The hills felt eerily familiar to me. It was as if I had encountered them in a past life.
Before I was here the Spanish had come and given San Antonio its name. Before they arrived there was an Indian pueblo. Prior to that settlement, hunters and gathers came to the stream to drink. And they have been doing that for a long time. Ever since human beings found a way to migrate into North America they have been coming to San Antonio.
Evidence of the past appears in the church parking lot every time there’s a hard rain. Pottery shards, arrowheads, and human bones emerge. When the Department of Transportation came up to expand the road their project quickly became an archeological dig.
Just up the road is the Sandia Man cave. It’s the oldest home in the East Mountains. Inside, a grad student from UNM found the leftovers of a caveman feast. The prehistoric people who lived here apparently had had an appetite for BBQ. Mastodon ribs littered the floor of the cave.
To me these discoveries are the very proof of ghosts in the East Mountains. We push ahead with our lives and aim to further develop our society. Yet our actions dig so deep into our past that we are forced to come to terms with our former selves. To reconcile our observations we create myths that give logic to where we came from and where we are going.