Leaving. It seems as if the universe conspires to keep the emotions raw. A street called, "Memory Lane," in Polson. A lonesome train whistle. Hobo snuggling under the covers. A pair of swans preening one another on the water. A bald eagle diving into the river for a fish and coming up empty. I listen to favorite songs on tape that take me back to different times in my life. Eventually the lines on the asphalt highway soften the boundaries and the sadness generalizes to every landscape, every lover lost or left behind.
I pulled into Willard Bay State Park north of Salt Lake City to find that the 'always open' campground was closed for construction of a zillion lights and a Christmas show. Luckily, the guy took pity on me and let me stay the night and there I was in a wonderland of color. I only had to change my expectations from birding to little-kid joy. The manager said 60,000 people would come to view the lights between this week and Christmas.
I made it through Salt Lake the next morn, took the Price cut-off and dropped into the expansive desert, back in the throes of endless sky. How to tell Hobo that his miles of pine trees were kaput, at least for awhile. It wasn't long before I saw my first prairie dog standing on hind legs not far from the two-lane highway. A few miles further I saw a badger! She wasn't far from the road either. She turned her head to look at me as I passed. That's two badgers in as many months. Calls for a meditation.
I closed in on Moab yesterday and decided to turn into the Arches parking lot and pick up my senior park pass. For $10 I'm now good for any national park for free, for life. And camping is half off. I was surprised to find that the little campground in the park was open and had vacancies. So much for plans to camp on the Colorado River; I opted for something new and jettisoned something old.
The drive to the campground was across Arches in sundown light, absolutely gorgeous. I am still here, ready for a second night. I can see over 100 miles. Red rock and junipers sooth the spirit. The silence at dawn was luscious. Song dogs howled in the distance. Raven's krakked at sun's first light.
I finally got around to doing my stretches today. I miss the little bridge in Montana where I often stood and did my routine. I miss a lot about Montana, but I checked the weather report today and it was rain and cold for as far as the report reached. It's sunny sixty here.
I'm taking my cues from the badger, not entirely sure what that means at this point. I'm off for Cortez and Mancos tomorrow. I'm excited to see friends. I have a reading and signing at Spruce Tree Coffee shop on November 30; and I'm doing an intro to Indie Publishing in Mancos on December 1st. But tonight it's sundown on sandstone and a Milky Way that won't quit.
I am blessed.