My Taos departure was a mix... I was deeply tethered to the work I had accomplished over the winter and
I reached the rafting store at the Pilar turnoff and jumped out of the truck with Teak. A hiss emanated from the back of the cab. Somewhere. I tore that baby apart and found nothing. I was perplexed and by this time, foggy headed, proven by the fact that I got back in the truck and continued to drive. Came to my senses, pulled over and did another search. It took four tries to find the grizzly bear spray canister I had taken out of my pack when I departed Montana six months ago. I don't know why exploded. Once I saw the brown goo in the bottom of a storage container I couldn't get rid of it fast enough, in no mood to research cause.
Right about this time my phone rang. It was Joe, my friend who had given me the bear spray in Montana. Did someone say synchronicity? Wipe everything down in the cab, he instructed. Every time you touch something it will burn. Keep calling me, he said, check in and to let me know you're okay.
Lungs afire, I continued down the road in a haze. Made my way through Albuq and south on I-25 stopping only for gas. And subsequently wiping out gas. I kept talking to Teak to make sure she was okay. Thank heavens Hobo was in the trailer. I exited the San Antonio turnoff for the Bosque del Apache. There was an RV park by the boundary but as I hit the ramp I saw a gravel road that looked promising for a boondock. I cranked it right and found a beautiful desert spot. Kept visualizing clean lungs and sharp thinking. That's when I started to spit up blood.
The Bosque was my medicine. The stars were gone -- 100K snow geese and cranes had long since winged their way north. I phoned Kevin the manager, whom I had interviewed for an earlier article, and took him up on his offer for a tour of those gated roads I'd dreamed of exploring for years. The day garnered three bobcat, large herds of mule deer and 50-plus wild turkeys. We stood on the edge of the Rio Grande as he pointed out the salt cedar eradication progress. The cottonwood bosque was alive with birdsong and raptor silhouettes as cranes called from on high, passing over from their winter in Mexico. A lone coyote skulked across a field, trailing a very plump skunk.
Some snow geese remained and the mirrored waters were broken by dabbler ripples. Without the grand display of mass ascension the brain and body settled in on other messages, like seasonal movement, migration and those left behind.
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