Monday, November 20, 2006
So I'm sitting here in a beautiful adobe house on the high plains of Taos. We've just come in from a long day of hiking--a 2.4 mile trek from the top of a plateau to the rocky banks of the Red and Rio Grande Rivers. I've got a lightning fast wireless Internet connection. I have photos a-poppin'. Hundreds. And, characteristically, Blogger will take two (no, after an hour more of trying, four) and no more. So I try to access my Flickr account. Only problem: it was created on another computer. I'm on my brand spanky new laptop, and I don't have all the durn passwords and ID's I need to get in there. So Flickr doesn't recognize me, and I cannot come up with the Yahoo password I need to access my Flickr account. So I go in and change ALL the passwords and ID's, and I STILL can't get into my account to download or retrieve photos. Two hours pass. I'm all tangled up in Internet manipulations and I am exactly at the same place I was two hours ago---struggling with Blogger, unable to do my Flickr end run, unable to show you anything but some photos I took several nights ago. Two, to be exact. Foaming at the mouth. I can't tell you how frustrating this all is. There has to be a better way. End of rant.
Cranes. Prehistoric, intelligent, stately, beautiful in every pose. Drifting down like giant pteranodons from pastel heights. Calling, groo groo groo, a rolling, sonorous purr that fills the heart. In these pictures, you can see the earth shadow, the shadow our planet casts on the sky. It's the band of blue beneath the pink, and it's all too enormous.
Dawn and dusk is the time to be out at Bosque. That's when the guards change, that's when the birds leave for where they're going and come to where they want to be. And that's what you want to see--the swirling, clamoring flocks, the liftoffs, or "blastoffs" as my friend Artie calls them.
Standing under a blizzard of snow geese reduces me to blithering and grinning and moaning. It's a spectacle, something that takes me out of my body and up into the air with the birds.
And still...as much as I love Bosque, I love the road to Magdalena more. Bill and I were on a quest, to retrace our route up NM 107 to Magdalena. Not that Magdalena is much--a soda fountain, a couple of businesses, a post office. It's the getting there. This road opens my soul. The vistas are endless, the colors sere and purple and blue. The last time we drove it was 15 years ago. We weren't married; we were just in love. And it was the most perfect thing, to find this road just out of curiosity, and follow it to its end.
The animals and birds were waiting for us. This band of pronghorns stopped to stare. Three prairie falcons beat by. Three coyotes loped and whirled to a stop to see if we were packing heat, then kept loping out of rifle range. Mountain bluebirds appeared, then disappeared. This time, we had Phoebe and Liam with us, and we could show them these marvels through our spotting scope. It was different--less romantic in some ways, even more romantic in others.
I'll tell you more about the road to Magdalena in a subsequent post. Perhaps I'll be able to show it to you.
Know that I'm itching to get home, to feel Baker's warm kisses, to log into my Flickr account without having to stand on my head and whistle Dixie--to get these images to you. We're having the most wonderful time. We're with good friends in a lovely adobe house buried in sagebrush. Mountain and western bluebirds greet the dawn; ravens row overhead grooping their gutteral calls. We hike and play with the kids and forget the icy cold of gray Ohio. We're basking in November sunshine and turning our cheeks red. November sunshine: I wish I could bring it to you. I wish I could can it and open it up when I get home. For now, I'm resetting my winter clock to the BASK setting. I'm savoring the last three days of our vacation, even as I'm pining for home. This trip has let me out of my everyday skin; freed me of the burdens and obsessions that weigh me down when I'm surrounded by obligation and schedule. I'd love to think that when I get home they'll stay somewhere out there in the ether. I know better, but for now, I'll pour another glass of wine and rest my eyes on the mountains.
Posted by Julie Zickefoose at 6:14 PM