Estoy Encantado

9/16/09 - My sister, Becky, comes out to New Mexico periodically on business. She invited me up to Albuquerque for a day of sisterly sorts of things. Her plane was to arrive from Atlanta at the Sunport around 9:00 p.m. this evening. I headed down the road in Ted's Saturn about 4:00 p.m. (Ted, always practical, wanted me to take the Saturn because its transmission is doing something inscrutable to me that Ted doesn't like, following a transmission fluid flush a couple of weeks ago. He believed a 500-mile drive might work out whatever grunge he suspects is stuck in some valve somewhere.) (Or maybe he is simply perverse . . .)

Down the road almost to Deming, Becky called and advised that her plane couldn't land in Atlanta because of thunderstorms and the flight had been diverted to Greenville, SC. She said they'd have to go back to Atlanta and continue from there. She didn't know how long she'd be delayed. I drove on into Deming and parked the car to see what we could do to sort all this out. We chatted and texted for about a half-hour while her situation changed minute-by-minute. Finally, Delta announced that the weather had cleared in Atlanta and the plane would depart as soon as they fueled up, which they were doing right that very minute. The delay wouldn't be too bad; Becky should be in Albuquerque by about 10:30.

Good enough for me. I headed out on I-10 with the 18-wheelers at my side and the sunset at my back. I haven't been anywhere outside Grant County since Ted and I arrived here in May. I was up for this trip. I turned north at Las Cruces. The late afternoon sky was full of glory holes through the thunderheads. Blue mountains were stacked up to the west as I headed up the rift valley and the sight filled my heart with delight as big as the landscape. The empty highway poured freedom into my soul. I had the feeling that I'm finally home, where I belong; that all my past lives have been spent on this ancient regolith and that I'll always live here if my future lives stay in this plane of reality.

That startling revelation might make you wonder about my sanity or at least make you question how well you really know me. It surprised me, too.

Lightning hammers the horizonApproaching Socorro, lighting to the north flickered beige in the clouds, then white, and finally blue streaks hammered the horizon. Darkness and light rain set in. I stopped to pick up sandwiches; Becky said she hadn't eaten and the peanuts they were passing out wouldn't ease her fatigue and hungry irritability.

Up the road, somebody in a red pickup tried to launch himself over the median barrier; blinding scene lights on emergency vehicles erased the road with glare and brought about an abrupt decrease in the speed of traffic, which was probably a good thing, since it'll ruin your day to run over a fireman who's trying to hose spilled fuel off the road. Past the carnage, bluffs and hills loomed black and intimidating over the roadway. Bolts of lightning disclosed the desperate and desolate canyons hiding in the darkness.