88 – Days Gone By (From Santa Fe to Tulsa)


Ohh, it has been so long since the last time I journaled. A week spent in Santa Fe; and nothing. Then three days of little but eat, sleep, drive, over, and over, and over. To be fair, nothing of note occurred while in Santa Fe. My sole achievement being an eleven mile run to the top of Atalaya and back. Also, slacklined with a friend, Jacob, and made curtains (yet to be used) with Matt for my Outback. Began drawing. Ended drawing. I felt very much at home. Knowing Matt and Jacob would make it very easy to move there, but I don’t think it will happen.

Oh!, I nearly forgot about the contra dance I attended at St. John’s. Jacob organized it and persuaded me to attend despite my misgivings. I’m an embarrassment when it comes to any sort of organized dancing. The contra proved no different (though I did have some experience from years past square dancing with my ex). Gratefully, many others were inexperienced as well, and some less coordinated than I. Once the steps are learnt it’s not so bad, but the learning experience is fraught with confusion, near-calamities, and befuddled faces. I’m much too self conscious for my own good. Fun was had I think by all, however! And, ahh!, the beautiful redhead who I danced with at junctures! An expert, no doubt! Slender and willowy as a grass blade, with the skin and fine, well-sculpted features of a marble bust. Impeccable! And with a confidence to match!

Leaving Santa Fe I drove straight on to Amarillo where I stopped for an espresso at Evocation, then onward to Palo Duro Canyon where I camped.

I passed through the gates and took a short, winding drive around the rim before charging down the steep decent to the canyon floor where the campsites are. During all of this the sun had only just dissolved into the horizon (it was a red disc slowly sinking into distant desert sands when I arrived at the entrance to the park), and all around me the landscape was pitched into the blue-black of twilight.

Having pitched my tent on a clean, grassy spot along the edge of some vegetation—low trees and chaparral—I proceeded to cook my dinner to the quiet orchestrations of insects.

Through all the night was the velvet hooting of owls, and the howl and shriek of coyotes. The moon bright as a billiard ball—a spotlight glancing off its surface. An enormous eye so far away that despite its great speed in circling the earth appears to be floating overhead, fixed in place.

Woke up in the morning to a blinding, impenetrable sun creeping over the canyon rim, two deer nibbling their way across the campground, birds fluttering from shrub to shrub to tree—Redstart, Black-Crested Titmouse, Warblers—a roadrunner meandering in its start-and-stop way, the air alive with bird song and taut, blazing sunlight. Everything shimmering and weightless, carried on wings.

After taking an age to make a cup of coffee and get packed up, I drove up and out of the canyon, back towards Amarillo and the interstate, stopping on a few occasions to take photos of the western panhandle’s flat earth, vanishing point perspective roads, and a tumbledown house surrounded by an oasis of dead trees. The western portion of the panhandle is flat and lifeless (Palo Duro Canyon being a tremendous exception); fascinating in its own right, like, say, the way the lunar landscape is fascinating. The panhandle’s eastern half abounds with small canyons and rolling hills—vastly different, and far more interesting. One might even say, awe inspiring. This continues into Oklahoma, minus the canyons and awe inspiring, though the landscape does continue its trajectory of increasingly green lushness (I will have to wait until Arkansas until the term “lush” truly becomes apt though).

Stopped in Clinton to visit a couple who have recently moved their coffee business from the interior of an Airstream trailer to an actual brick and mortar shop front that they renovated themselves.

From Clinton to Tulsa where I stayed with another wonderful WarmShowers host who I’ve stayed in touch with via Facebook.


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