Monday, June 22, 2009

She Who Runs with Rattlesnakes

This is Laura's picture tour of the Marble Mine Road. Across the road from our house is what we fondly call our back yard, hundreds of square miles of BLM land with a rough gravel, poorly maintained road winding its way up into the desert mountains. Many miles back it runs through an old marble mine. Shelah and I go several miles up and back most every day as a treat to oursouls. I thought I would attempt to recreate it visually.

This is the view looking back towards our house a short way up the road. On the left is the road. On the right is a huge erosion caused arroyo. In the middle background is the shining river with its surrounding green belt and Lonely Mountain.

Here is a swell rock by the road that I call the "cow rock" because it looks like a cow napping in the semi-shade.

These are "useful rocks" anchoring the wire fence. Dig those New Mexico fence posts!

Here is more of the erosion arroyo with tenacious creosote roots showing. Their roots "walk" them to new footholds, usually underground.

Sadly, here is what is at the bottom of the arroyo. Folks use it as a dump for their dead goat carcasses. No telling why they are dead, they look like perfectly good goats when they first show up.

Two more carcasses, one of them got a burial shroud.

This is the view looking up the road at the "Joel Spot." When my son was an ooch and I wanted him to nap I put him in his car seat and drove us up here where he slept peacefully and I tanked up on gumption and grit by reading Joel Goldsmith, The Infinite Way. I love how the bend in the road seems to beckon one on, come hither, it seems to call.

This is the view looking back down towards home from the Joel Spot. The campfire, left by some modern peace seeker, is the exact spot where I parked the car to draw peace from the vista spread out before me.

A sideways view from the road, the mountains are the Robledos. The bushes are creosote, also known as chapparal. They smell like asphalt pavement when they get wet and are very therapeutic.

Pyramid Peak is obvious. Next to it, to the left is Grape Mountain. Not so obviously named for the grapes G and I ate there once when we had hiked them and us all the way up to the top! On the flat top mesa to the left of Pyramid is a miniscule white dot. That is an immigration monitoring electronic device to deter illegals from coming along.

These are soap tree yuccas. The dark flowers on top are last years seed pods. These will get beautiful white bell-like blooms soon.

This is the view into the bottom part of the soap tree yucca. This is the part that gives it its name. Those white curly fibers can be gathered with extreme care (very sharp prickles) and rubbed into a soapy lather good for body, hair or anything else that is dirty. Or so they say......

Remember the name of this epic journey? Did you think I forgot the rattlesnakes? Wasn't that the main reason you stuck with me so far? Yes, there are frequently rattlesnakes up here on the road. They are mostly neutral to Shelah and me, we say hello and ask politely to pass. They go their way and we go ours. As I run or walk I am constantly scanning the road ahead for deviations in the gravel/dirt patterns, which would be a rattler or sometimes harmless but impressive bull snakes. These sticks made me slow down until I saw they were "snakeoids!" I did not see any rattlers this trip, but stay tuned.

This is the fond farewell bird that ushered me off of the Marble Mine Road and back into the personality known as Laura. When I go up I frequently become aware of being able to leave Laura behind with each step I take into wildnerness and away from life as I have created it. Shelah and I always come back restored, refreshed and renewed. In a pinch, G has been known to say to me, "Laura, you just need to go for a run."

-- Laura Solberg