I have been traveling to Taos, New Mexico, several times in the past year. I stop at this spot near Mora Pass that is up in altitude from Sipapu Lodge in order to look back at the mountains before I head down the Mora Pass to Holman, Cleveland, Mora, and Las Vegas. The valley you see in the foreground is the starting valley and surrounds for Rio Pueblo that flows eventually into the Rio Grande near Embudo.
I have climbed two of the three Truchas Peaks, encountering Bighorn sheep on the trail to the summit. I was in my twenties when I climbed; now I am seventy-five years old and I stop and look back on the mountains and my life, the near and the faraway.
Lately, within the last few weeks, I have seen near my home in Fort Worth the most beautiful coyote poised and stationary alongside the Chisholm Trail Tollway, its coat shiny and tail bushy and full. In my frontyard, two racoons ambled by and climbed into the trees. A bluejay in the neighborhood warns others of my approach as I walkabout. At my Far Field near Mingus, Texas (the source of most of my posts on this blog), I have heard the Sandhill Cranes in the sky, but failed to see them catch the thermals. But, I hear them. I see the turned soil of wild hogs in my field, the voles that run away from my tractor when I shred mesquite. When I was in Lubbock at Thanksgiving I heard and saw flocks of Canadian geese in the air and along the playas of the region.
Magpies fly across the backyard of my daughter’s home in Taos.
I am looking and I see the wild on this earth. I am having a conversation with the wild. And, I listen so attentively and look so closely that I am beginning to grieve as I never had before.