Sunday, December 11, 2011

Full Moon at Jemez Monument, New Mexico & The Tunnels

Upper Tunnel Entry/Exit
I've been researching traveling in Baja. I found Discover Baja Travel Club which offers a book list including hard-to-find maps. Vagabundos del Mar (another Club -- non-profit) offers discounts on insurance and has an online calendar to help facilitate the forming of caravans. It seems the traveler needs to get about 500 miles south of Tijuana before they can consider themselves "safe." And the best way (rumor has it) to run the gauntlet is as part of a caravan.

I've been wrangling getting treatment for the whiplash and have been "booted out" of the chiropractic office my Physicians Assistant (P.A.) referred me to. She had back problems which they were able to help, but they acknowledged I would benefit more from massage which they could not offer. So now we're going for the gold and I'll use it....whenever it comes, to pay for treatment. I'm not sure whether to be annoyed with the guy who hit me or myself for coming into town. In each case, I can see opportunity for spleen-venting that might be cathartic, but the ambivalence inhibits action. In the meantime, I sit and watch the clowns.

I went to Jemez State Monument last night for Pueblo songs and dances. There was one drummer-singer and two dancers. The place was lit up with luminarias and the full moon came up over the mountains. It was gorgeous!! As I was standing in the main hall of the church ruins, a woman began singing I Wonder As I Wander. It was just she and I and at first I couldn't tell where she was. I finally spotted her in the doorway. Later, she explained she's an agnostic Buddhist (sort of) who learned the song in childhood. She had a lovely low-register soprano that was dead-on each note. As a devout agnostic muhse'f, I liked the description (in the song) of folks as "orn'ry." I'm one too.

The last song the singer-drummer sang was for the warriors in the Mideast. He made a point of saying how WE (us Euro-Amirkanerz) started everything back in the olde days. I rejoined that we've ALL kept at it. When the song ended I asked if he'd heard of Anna Lee Walters' short story, The Warriors (included in the anthology: Earth Power Coming). He had. I related how the man in the story had never capitulated (surrendered) and when his grand-daughter asked him what he was still fighting for he replied, "Beauty." The drummer-singer allowed as how that may have been how it was in the olde days. As it happened, an impromptu choir had gotten going in the church and their voices were echoing from the roofless walls. I gestured toward the joyful noise and he acknowledged that that was why everyone had come there that evening...for the beauty.
Moonlight at The Tunnels

Afterward, I drove up to The Tunnels, the Gilman Tunnels, that is, and listened to the stream flow through the canyon. It's been warm and the snow melt was running strong. 

I'm caught up in helping Ms. Mary Francis DeHart get her sales proposal together for her Ranch in Slana, Alaska ( She says this is the worst winter she's ever seen, and she's been there over forty years. I'm cogitating on heading up there around the end of February, after the Spring Bloom in Death Valley. I hate cold, but she really needs some help and it doesn't seem like there's anyone else.

In the meantime, I'm stuck in Albuquerque, mooning over the lost opportunity of spending the winter on the Sea of Cortez. Oh well, maybe next year.

As far as camping around Albuquerque in winter, I can't recommend it. Over the 30 years I've lived here I can recall two winters in which it never got below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. One was my first winter in '76. I thought I'd found heaven! The rest get cold sometime in January and vacillate around until March....or even May. It's unpredictable.

Last winter I went South into the Chiricahua Mountains SW of Rodeo (S of Animas). They, the mountains, straddle the NM/AZ border and are mostly in Arizona. The Turner's bought 'em in the 1990s and they're now jointly managed by The Animas Foundation and the Forest Service. There are a few "good" dirt roads into the area.

But the land is incredible! There is minimal grazing and the grass is waist high and so thick you can't see the ground. During the day temperatures reach the upper 50s - low 60s. At night it drops into the low 20s and sometimes into the teens. I recommend the area as it is very remote, inhabited by olde-world Americans, many of Hispanic-Spanish heritage with olde-world values......"Close the gates behind you, don't harass the cattle, and we'll leave you alone until you ask for help. And then we'll help." Last November and December I had it virtually to myself except for the Border Patrol, some good Samaritans helping folks lost in the desert, and a few hunters. Nobody else and no hassles.

No traffic, no planes overhead, just peace and quiet....except for the Border Patrol going by every half hour. But at least you know you're well-protected, right?

1 comment:

jozien said...

'for the beauty' that is it