October 13, 2011
The Syncline: The sandstone ponds had had a flashflood through them. In the lower pools the willows were torn and full of wreckage, but the higher ones were beautiful. We went in naked on the sandy, gravely mud.
Polliwogs and froglets nibbled us. We slid down the algae-coated water chutes of the linked pools; the stream’s steady drip from pool to pool became overflow as our bodies displaced water.
So quiet! Wind in the cottonwoods, sun on the washed stone, warm breeze on bare skin. Absolute peace.
August 12, 2011
Jemez foothills in thunder season. A rattler was getting the heck out of there. A million millipedes the color of violins were footing it furiously, looking like baby snakes.
Jan said, “It’s the crawliest day I’ve seen in a long time.”*
June 19, 2011
In the Jemez Mountains we hiked among the Tent Rocks: eerie, beautiful. Pink-white ashy pumice forms teepees, minarets, cupolas, gables, totem poles, shrines—their bases scalloped like coconut-cream popsicles, their tops jagged as blades. Don’t slide off; by the time you got to the bottom you’d be, not just dead, but completely skinned by volcanic glass. As we crept along the steep sides of the hills each of us touched the slope with one hand.
The ash is full of obsidian, Apache Tears.
May 5, 2011
Unlike those of the classic Zia symbol, all its rays are of equal length. The slanted ones may be feathers. It had been painted with a finger, and seemed to be subtly smiling.
September 1, 2010
Hiking in the volcanic world of the Jémez Mountains, whose pavement of shattered obsidian has been mined by flint-knappers for twelve thousand years. Among the glittering prehistoric shards, a recently discarded cigar.
Cochití Golf Course nudges the Jémez wilderness. As we walked Jan told the story of finding, at the foot of a tall Ponderosa a mile from the course, about fifty white golf balls within a radius of thirty feet.
That’s one disillusioned raven.