It is my final day in Cortez. I have been here about three weeks and the weather has been sunny, hovering around 60-degrees every day. I was in serious vitamin-D deficit from a year in Montana (I left the capsules up there). I wanted, needed sun. I got it. But not without worry, for this place is in the midst of serious drought. Jackson Reservoir, one of my favorite hikes, is at 14%. The flotilla of mergansers that winters there must wonder what is going on as their swim-scape grows smaller and smaller.
My heart has opened with my return to the vast skies of the southwest; the smiles and hugs of friends to match. It was standing-room-only at the Spruce Tree Coffee Shop for my reading and signing. The Indie publishing workshop the next day was a high energy afternoon. I made several runs to Durango, including fun visits to fav thrift stores. I parked at "sister" Babette's house, giving us many magical moments. Sundowners in the evening with a small, ritual cigar. Shared meals. A quick-zip road trip to Taos. In slumber party fashion, we watched movies most every night. When there wasn't a Bronco game, that is.
It took until two days ago to open the door on my storage shed. I stood at the confluence of courage, joy and dread as I jerked the metal sliding door on my past, surrounded by the special pottery, pictures and folk art I have collected from around the world. I said hello to my Aunt Clara's antique full-sized root beer barrel and my dad's dresser with the hanging knobs for handles. Then I carefully chose a few things that I will take to Taos with me, like my guitar and guitar stand, my dad's old briefcase that holds the myriad notes on family history and the old leather sleigh bells he gave me many years ago. I soaked up the beauty of the few things I still possess as I acknowledged that I would shut the door again, leaving mementos in boxes, with hopes that on some future day I will unpack once again. Yes. Really?
Today, Teak and I will hike one of my favorite haunts, Boggy Draw. The aspen will be bare, stark and exquisitely silver. I wonder if I will see signs of the large black bear that claims those aspen forests as her home? If her yearling cub still follows in her shadow? And what of the muskrat that floated the ponds, the bobcat that stepped from the ponderosa meadow one special day? I long to feel the place again, to say a humble hello, all the while enveloped in the bittersweet acknowledgement that in every hello is an inherent goodbye.
And tomorrow, Taos.
The night I depart a cold front is forecast to move in with wind and a threat of snow. It's supposed to dip to 5 degrees in Cortez, and minus 2 in Taos. I will winterize La Perla the trailer before I leave Colorado.
I would have never have guessed Taos would be my winter home, but I am not one to ignore synchronicity. Many folks refer to it as coming full circle, but it is not. It is a spiral... I come around after ten years, near to my departure point, but I do not come back to the same place, as the same woman. For one thing, I am no longer married. For another, many friends have moved on; favorite restaurants have closed. I return with a newly birthed book and a hankering to write the sequel. I plan to play; to meet and mix it up with Taos spirits -- historical, present-day and otherwise. I can't wait to see who drops into my life.
I will look out at Taos Mountain every day. She has a message for me. As does Grandmother Tree. There is a reason I eschew the warm Arizona sun for a perch on a sage-laden mesa this winter. I just don't know what that reason is.
Twas ever thus.
|Walking the Labyrinth in Taos Two Weeks Ago|