This morning I woke up at 4:00 to go watch some birds wake up at 7:00.
Except they never woke up.
Actually, they did, but they couldn’t “lift off” like they were supposed to because their little webbed feet got frozen into the pond.
At least that’s how I comforted myself after I stood there for 1/2 before sunrise and an hour afterwards.
I saw, maybe, 50 geese, a couple of unknown, chubby, little guys, and 3 bald eagles sitting on top of three separate snags in a lake.
That was actually super-duper cool.
But I drove six and a half hours yesterday and another hour this morning to see this great, daily event,
THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN GODDAMMIT.
I envisioned myself, yesterday as I drove, on my 2-day escape, channelling Ellen Meloy; watching birds and writing.
Since the birds didn’t cooperate, I feel even more pressure to write and write something sublimely profound.
Which means I can’t come up with a single word.
So all you will get from me today is marginally focused blather.
Even without the liftoff, I have had the most spectacular day and it’s only 11:46 am, here in Socorro, NM.
I drank an entire pot of coffee, taking the last mug-full with me for watching the birds in the freezing cold.
I drove to the Bosque, paid, got totally turned around and finally found the Flight Deck – the locale which, I hear, is the best place to freeze to death while you watch the ascension from thousands of snowy nests, into the crystal-filled air above.
Then I drank a blueberry protein drink and had some weird allergic reaction and coughed and scratched my way around the observation loops.
The visitor’s center is one of the best ever. They clearly have a ton of funding. It’s not nearly as upscale as the new one at Mesa Verde, but that one really only has cool architecture going for it. It’s pretty boring otherwise.
But this one? There were so many things with which to play; press a button and a wooden coyote runs across the GIANT 3-D thingy on the wall in front of you.
I don’t know what to call it. It’s built out of wood and covers an entire wall. It’s like a 3-D shadow box without the box. The layers are stepped. The bottom/front is under water (not literally.) Each step takes you up and back (towards the wall) while you concurrently rise through the ecosystem: surface of the lake, grasses and willows, pastures, trees, sky. And then, there are like, 10 or more buttons that you push and each one moves another critter or two on the big thingy.
They even have roadrunners.
And, the gift store…Oh My.
Tiny and yet filled to overflowing with things I wanted to touch. For example, they didn’t just have the standard, visitor’s center, basket of birds that make noise upon being squashed by a small, grubby-handed child.
They had fucking stuffed prairie dogs. Adults and babies.
Then I had a very brief moment of self-doubt, “These make Pop Guts seem really snuggly and cute. Should I stop shooting them?”
Meh, fuck it.
After laying hands on every little thing in the shop and forcing one of the employees to read the book I was purchasing before I did so. It was the last one in the store and everyone needs to read Soft Child, so I couldn’t pay and take it until this guy read it. He loved it.
Now I will interject that if you haven’t read it, you must. And then you must read and listen to everything else Joe Hayes has produced. Then, you have to go see him tell stories.
And if you hear that he is doing so anywhere within driving distance of the Four Corners, you must contact me.
Okay, back to my day. So I bought presents for the nieces who are MCB’s. Soft Child, obviously and a dragon-fly mobile. Then something for MCB for being MCB, and a stained glass coloring book. It’s amazing. I am so excited.
Well, I just spent the last 25 minutes since I wrote that, looking at other adult stained glass coloring books which led me to a thought about a book that I had yesterday, so then I had to research books on the Mormon Hole in the Rock Trail because I am obsessed with Mormons, more specifically polygamists, but I am astounded by the perseverance of all of those hearty, mortal, LDS souls that did some seriously brutal traveling in the name of their God – pretty fucking impressive. Plus a few of my favorite people, that list begins with my dear friend M, are LDS, and those folks, my friends, are the nicest people, ever; They’re so nice it’s almost like their from Wisconsin. Which then led me to more books about the LDS, where Wallace Stegner appeared, so then I flipped through a few of his books, fiction and non-fiction, put a couple on my wish list, got onto our public library website and put holds on a few of these books, and back on Amazon, put a couple more in my shopping basket, ordered one that was $2.99, so even though I am hemorrhaging money and am not sure I will be able to buy gas to get me home, I felt that another book, especially one on important local history, was totally worth more stress and less gas.
And, we’re back.
I left the Bosque, came back to Socorro so Elvis and I could walk around the Plaza in the snow. I drank coffee and got a green chili croissant, and let me just tell you that a central New Mexico green chili something yummy is nothing like those little HATCH dealies, diced and in a can; hell no, theirs are the real deal and are fucking hot.
After our walk, returned to our motel, I talked to MCB, and now here I am, writing.
In just a bit, Elvis and I are headed back to the Bosque to see the birds return since we missed their daily departure.
Let’s hope they finally did ascend because if they didn’t, there’s not going to be some big return either.