February 25, 2012
The big stock pond where we parked at the edge of the wilderness was desert-dry. Jan recalled hiking there after the monsoon, when there were so many frogs you could hear them two miles away. He said, “Dug in under that dirt are a hundred thousand frogs, waiting for rain.”
On our way back we crossed the pond’s dry bed, walking on thousands of frogs.
February 17, 2012
Hiking the canyon of the Rio Santa Fe, over our heads the stone-cribbed hairpin turns that carried Spanish wagons, Civil War soldiers and Model Ts up this section of the Camino Real. The eroding pale strata of the canyon walls were capped by tumbled, slightly columnar basalt.
At the cliffs’ feet the rio’s busy water looped and twinkled. It smelled chemical; it was runoff from Santa Fe’s sewage treatment plant, equal parts groundwater from Buckman Wells and bottled water from Fiji that had been filtered through wealthy Santa Feans. Winding down that river was, no doubt, a lot of cocaine.
In the sedge at the brink I nearly stepped on a bull snake. We left, abruptly, in opposite directions.
February 11, 2012
On the east ridge, looking east. Still a slight afterglow on the wrinkled, stratified, bitten and convoluted land. The snowy Ortiz rising above the mesas like ice; far away, the Sangre de Cristo peaks white, turning blue, and nothing, nothing, nothing human visible but two tiny lights, distant, almost to Santa Fe.
February 2, 2012
At Zuni: We borrowed a clutch of neighbor kids and went hiking in the windblown sand south of the pueblo. The kids were itchy and wild, flinging themselves off the red dunes, playing cowboys and Indians—funny, given that they were all Indians.
One of the adults, a fast hiker, disappeared for awhile. We wondered aloud, “Where’s Andy?” Small Brandon said seriously, “Prob’ly those Indians got him.”