November 20, 2007
Today is a transition day, out of the wilderness back into civilization. It seems fitting that, as a transition day, it has been marked by contrasts. This morning when we stopped at a little rural store looking for post card pictures of The Cat Walk, a sad flier on the store door greeted us. A family is looking for their missing son/brother last seen a week ago, distraught and off his meds for bipolar disorder, threatening to drive off into the wilderness to die. I’ve been thinking about him and his family all day – off and on, between magical nature moments. I hope he founded hope somewhere and will go back home.
Bob and I visited Pueblo Creek today, a wilderness area in which native people lived one thousand years ago. There were more people there then than now – a small agricultural community. We walked the hills and creek bed, noticing birds, listening for wolf song (signs told us we were in wolf country but the wolves stayed away) enjoying the total absence of human generated sound. It was like that yesterday by the lake too –and on the catwalk, only water and wind sounds, no cars or planes.
We made a last birding stop on the Gila river, saw mule deer and more sycamore trees flaming orange among the yellow cotton woods. We each selected a river rock as a memento of this trip. Mine is pale pink and shaped like an owl – Bob’s strong and solidly red. We left the river by sunset and moonrise - having a long intricate conversation about what it means to be a good listener (I love my husband so much – apparently the typical American male wouldn’t intelligently talk with his wife for three hours about what it means to be a good listener)
Dark fell, we got back into cell phone range, and I decided to be responsible and checked office messages – quite a number to deal with, but everyone safe. While I was in the midst of trying to write down phone numbers to call people back, we drove up to a little gas store. Just as we got out of the car there was a terrible noise from the highway – metal on metal, no shattering glass. It was a roll over accident, and others on the scene moved quickly to call 911 and offer aid. By the time we drove by no victims were left at the scene. It shook me though that horrible risk lurked so close to my happy vacation, and worries me a little that I didn’t instantly figure out what was going on and run to the scene as some others did. Bob raised the question of whether the police even want people to approach accidents before they arrive – perhaps we should not risk doing something wrong and hurting someone worse or getting hurt ourselves. We’ve decided to ask a police officer about this soon.
We’re in Deming now (and I’m THRILLED to have clean hair and be off the scary nighttime highway). We are at one of our favorite old-fashioned motels, one where I set a scene in Green Up. Tomorrow, in the daytime, we will drive home in tie to have Thanksgiving with family. Even with the sad moments today, this tradition of the Thanksgiving birding road trip with Bob is one I cherish even more than last year. I hope we continue it.
To check out Bob’s wonderful pictures of our trip go to: