85 – Writing from the Comfort of “Home”

I stayed on an extra day in Flagstaff; I could have stayed there permanently. Because of the extra day I had to drive straight through to Santa Fe which I had not originally planned. Oh well; I spent a bit more time at the hostel with Marc, and I bought a used boxset of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. MINT! The books didn’t even appeared to have been opened. The box was a bit beat up, but that’s a non-issue, and it only cost me $8. I’m happy to have a set with matching covers now—because these are such important things—and beautiful ones at that.

Despite driving from Flagstaff direct to Santa Fe I was still able to make a couple stops along the way—one being Walnut Canyon, just barely outside Flagstaff, and El Malpais National Monument, the other, an hour or so west of Albuquerque—as well as detouring a bit along Route 66, mainly curious if I would find anything of photographic interest. Regarding Walnut Canyon I am particularly interested in one photo that I took—not necessarily anything spectacular though—that is simply enough a peninsula of sorts jutting into the canyon with an asphalt walking path winding along it leading to and from the visitors center. There is a person barely discernible, submerged in this landscape, dwarfed by it all, his shadow kind of stuck to the rock wall behind him. He’s no more than a few specks, several grains of silver if this were film, just like every other individual detail in the image. No more or less important than any other.

Along Route 66 I made stops in Winslow and Holbrook, Arizona. Dumps in disrepair the both of them, but that’s hardly a surprise what with the rerouting of traffic to Interstate 40 along much of its length many years back. Route 66 is now just a novelty for the curious traveler, such as myself, or no more than just the main street in these small towns that dot it.

I’m writing all of this on my third day in Santa Fe, at Iconic Coffee in Collected Works Bookstore. I feel good here. Comfortable. Content. Satisfied. Relaxed. It’s a familiar place, and feels like home. Matt, with whom I stayed when I first came to Santa Fe on the very last portion of my cycling trip, helped me cut and sew curtains for my car last night. I’m excited about them, and grateful to Matt for the help. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet up and hang out with a good friend from Annapolis. He attends St. John’s College, which is how we met when we were both in Annapolis a year ago. The St. John’s College campus here is located at the start of the trail for access to Atalaya Mountain, but also right at the base of the much smaller Sun Mountain so he was able to take me on a short hike immediately after meeting up, catching the beginnings of the day’s sunset from the peak. The following day he strung up his slackline between two trees and he, myself, and a few friends of his from the college hung out in the cool air attempting to keep our bare feet from succumbing to the numbing effects of the cold ground for as long as possible. Unfortunately, Jacob, my friend, was the only one able to do so for longer than several seconds. I left that evening with my toes frozen up to the metatarsals. There was a great deal of fun had and laughter produced, though, and an always pleasurable sunset observed. I know not how much longer I will be in town, as I’m waiting for delivery of a down quilt from Enlightened Equipment. Hoping they’re able to fix the shipping issue and get it to me soon.

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