Signage

Painted on the wall of a Colorado motel:

Wash your hands and say your prayers/ Jesus and germs are everywhere

At the cider factory: Violators will be crushed and destemmed

This little bug doesn’t mean anything in particular along the path…

And found in my purse, scribbled on a paper receipt, my monoku:

“in memory of my father eating only ice cream for lunch”

On The Plateau: Poem by Miriam Sagan

On The Plateau

A wall, a quarry really
of fossil bones
height—the temple of a pharaoh
width—this canyon
and depth unknown.
The Jurassic compressed
to badlands that can be walked through
by us, until it gets too hot
the day in June,
before:
fruit trees, bees, ice ages
before the French revolution
before soul music and
rock and roll
before
my childhood
and now my approach to age
I creak, my bones ache.
These bones of dinosaurs
disarticulated
by water, mud, and time
for the paleontologist
to puzzle over
in his beaten but heroic hat
his own worries, his own fate
that even science cannot avert, nor faith.

Last night in a canyon
that didn’t belong to us
we hiked through wet and buggy fields
to the cliff outcropping
where ancient people scraped
elegant and formidable
figures on the rock
feathered as kings or dancers in masks.
I always say: I can’t do it.
You pat me on the back
and I’m rewarded
by the sight
of carved lizards and horned sheep
or mysterious glyphs in dot and dash.

For four dollars
I could have failed to climb
and yet counted myself
lucky
with the old moon rising
and a field of milkweed
waiting for sleeping butterflies
to awake at next dawn’s light.

Roadtrip: Santa Fe to Gunnison

Santa Fe to Gunnison

North to Ojo and Tres Piedres–finding a very nice picnic table at the Ranger Station. Surprisingly cold, wildflowers, and those fantastical rock outcroppings. Sad to see the little Valentine diner closed, and Cozart’s store for sale. Cisterns for sale–a cistern advertising CISTERNS.
I have such mixed and complex feelings about the San Luis Valley. I lived in a zen monastery in Crestone, Colorado one winter almost twenty years ago, and drove the valley often. It was a difficult time in my life, and the winter weather and general harsh landscape will always be associated. I’ve visited many times since and I do love it, but that other map is underneath. For example, I find Antonito a scary little town where I don’t like to stop. Although today there was chile roasting.
Drove La Jara to Mesa Vista and then to Saguache. I’m less familiar with the western side of the valley. It looked beautiful, with hay harvest, big snail coils and tidier cubes. Rich said–a classic road through an agricultural area–Kansas? Russia? With mountains. And fields of sunflowers. Then yellow mustard.
Over a pass to Gunnison. The only high pass in Colorado not marked “scenic” although it was spectacular with a classic aspens and running stream look.