Spring Hare Moon
The trip continues to stair step its way north. I drove the five and a half hours to Denver today. When I knocked on the door, Ruth, the birthday girl who did not know I was coming, fluttered her hands and got a shy look. Taken aback and surprised. Then, glad to see me.
Certain high points were in the trip’s plan: Carlsbad, Tucson, the Saguaro National Park and Chaco Canyon. They were, each in their own way, worth the effort it took to get to them.
There have been surprises, too. The stark beauty of the Chihuahuan desert between Deming, New Mexico and Tucson. The unexpected abundance of plant life in the Sonoran desert, a plantscape dominated by the tall and somber Saguaro, but dotted with other cacti, trees, shrubs and flowers. There was, too, the magnificent sky up on the Mogollon Rim, with Orion standing high, a Saguaro of the sky.
The high mesas, the rock formations like Shiprock and Windowrock, the mountains of northern Arizona were also wonderful. Santa Fe was like visiting a different country. The adobe, the thick timbers as roof beams, the forearm thick branches used in doors and windows, the pastels enchanted me, as the license plate says.
Then there were the Sangre de Cristos mountains north of Santa Fe and to the west of the freeway. Following the mountains always on the western horizon from Santa Fe to Denver, made me realize that the leeward side of the mountain ranges were a natural thoroughfare and probably have been for thousands of years.
Those folks down in Tucson and other parts of the southwest and west are recipients of an unexpected bounty, visible from the road: a heavy snowpack in the Rockies. This means the Colorado should run full and do that in a year when the drought gripping those areas only deepens.
Driving from Tucson, where the Arabic world has contributed the word haboob for the sorts of violent wind storms yellow highway signs warn about, to Denver, where the snowpack in the Rockies 900 miles away will determine the water politics for the next year, illustrates the close linkage natural to these lands, mountains and deserts. It cannot account for the sudden and disastrous amount of water used in biomes meant for cacti, mesquite, rattlesnakes and gila monsters.