Saturday, November 9, 2013

A little travelin' to New Mexico


I hit the road recently. It wasn't much of a journey -- down to Grants, New Mexico (La Frontera!), to see
the parents for an evening and morning. Three and a half hours down, and the same back, across the blank landscape of north-central New Mexico.

Well, not so blank.

See, it may not have been much of a journey, but it was a little bit of traveling nonetheless. And when it comes to traveling, a little goes a long way. Even just sitting on my arse in a car at 65 mph with my dog snoozing on the back seat and trip hop on the stereo. That's all it takes to get me out of valley -- both physically and figuratively -- I've been feeling holed up in (okay, a pretty nice valley, but still), and get me back out -- out there -- and reweaving myself into the Home Landscape ...



I follow the La Plata River all the way down from the winter-silver peaks of the La Platas, from the barren and brown cottonwood stands up by Hesperus, to the still-golden riverine ribbon down in the tan, shallow La Plata River canyon above Farmington ...

Across the San Juan River: The carotid artery of this Home Landsacape ...

Not this time ... 
Away to the northwest, I see just the tops of the Sleeping Ute peaking (so to speak) over the shimmering gold cliff band of Mesa Verde ...

The dark, looming silhouette of Shiprock sailing in front of the blue Chuskas and Carrizos ...

The snowy La Platas jutting from my rear-view mirror ...

Past signs for chapters and revivals, pointing off into a vast rolling emptiness -- that flat central New Mexican landscape, where the topography is downward, in washes and hoodoos and broad drainages, rather than upward. It's like an animal-less Serengeti, or something the Mars rover might encounter ...



Edge of the Bisti, and across Chaco Wash. At the "Lake Valley" exit (of a sort), I can see to the east the long and slender upper mesas of in Chaco NHP. I was up there just this last summer. Since then, it has been named as the place with the darkest nights in the continental U.S. -- beating out Cedar Mesa, Utah for the title ...

I watch for it -- catching glimpses as my little car crests rises in the deserted road. Mount Taylor slowly rises
Tsoodzil rising.
and grows. I target it --  my parents live at the base of that isolated peak ...

And I note that this run takes me between two of Navajo people's sacred peaks: Hesperus Peak (Dibé
Nitsaa) and Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil). On this journey, one recedes as the other grows ...

And that's all it takes: even a drive heals. Even that can remind me to ... Look around. Take it in. Be present. Savor.

That's the thing with traveling: It doesn't take much. And I have a full slate of traveling coming up in the next couple of months -- so time to get my traveling mind out of the valley and back to the journey. Any journey. Every journey.

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