Sunday, July 26, 2009

Notes From New Mexico - Day Eight

With internet access and too much coffee, I'll catch you up on days six and seven of my New Mexico and Colorado vacation, which were filled with what I call monotonous beauty. I mean, how much can one appreciate the majesty of nature. Not enough, obviously, but it is human drama that more often primes my writing. Writing about human drama can be really tricky though. Dragging friends' lives into one's creative expression feels morally wrong. You can fictionalize it, but that won't protect individual privacy within certain circles.

I've experienced plenty of natural drama that I could continue to write about. There's the jaw-droppingly beautiful Wolf Creek Pass that cuts through the border between New Mexico and Colorado, inspiring wonderment at the artistry of nature, and black-holes of amazement that pioneers could actually circumvent this "pass."

And then there is the incident of the bolt of lightning that splintered the top of a tree 30 feet from our cabin, blasting shattered limbs everywhere. Up until the moment the lightning hit, me and my travel companion Debbie were serenely enjoying the gentle thunder and the pitter-patter of rain on the tin roof. Then there was this gigantic "boom," and just out of corner of my eye, I saw the lightning hit, at which point I involuntarily and uncharacteristically screamed and grabbed Deb, and nearly wet my britches. This incident reminded me of a similar one when I was managing a little ranch up on Carrizozo Peak, also in New Mexico, a story included in my book, "Justice for Miguel," soon to be a best seller (ha ha).

In "Justice for Miguel," which is a fictionalized account of a true story, I describe another lightning strike, but the entire 50 foot, flaming tree fell within feet of the all glass wall of my kitchen/greenhouse. I recall that moment so vividly as I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, similarly enjoying the rain. When the lightning struck the tree, time slowed down to a creep, as I watch the tree explode and descend toward me and my glass-walled kitchen, paralyzed not by fear (foolishly), but rather the magnificence of the view of a 50-foot burning tree falling towards me. This incident gave me some appreciation of why some people freeze in the face of danger, but for me, I think it was more about fascination with the visual spectacle, rather than fear.

Anyway, back to human drama.
  1. I really miss my husband, which although it may sound coarse, is a surprise to me. I've always loved my husband, but I've also always been a free-spirit, needing to often soar off on my on. This missing him is new to me, and really kind of nice. Of course I miss my kids and grand kids, but that is part of life - you can't be too attached to their lives because you've got to give them room to live, but that doesn't mean you don't miss them.
  2. A friend unexpectedly lost her brother. Grief has the substance of rock, and I can feel the pain in her voice. I am torn between rushing to her side to comfort her, or staying out of the way of her large family, who are bonded in their despair.
  3. Another friend is struggling with the loss of a relationship - actually a marriage. There's just not much you can say to soothe the feeling of someone trapped in the soul-sucking failure of a marriage.
  4. Another friend is feeling the need for a life-change - wrestling with what to do next, where.
So life, like nature, moves on, evolving, gouging and perfecting, beautiful and cruel.

Lust for Life,



  1. He misses you too... very much!!!

  2. I miss you too! Sounds like a wonderful trip and gorgeous. I am so jealous. I didn't realize that you were going to Creede. I drove up there 2 years ago to return some paintings to John Gary Brown, an incredible painter from Kansas and spends his summers there with his wife. they spend their time with the Crede Repetoire Theater. It's one of the few still in operation in the US. Anyway, very interesting people and she is a writer/actor.
    tell deb that we had a nice little thunderstorm last nite. will check the plants again today.
    by the way, just saw a book on sundance, on sale, that sounds like a fun read. "cowboys are my weakness". well, have a safe drive home and hope to see you soon. love you both. xoxo

  3. Am really enjoying your vacation since it is 104 every day here. I used to live in Colo. Spgs. and was a home teacher and counselor for blind adults in most of the counties to the West and East of there. Got to travel to Buena Vista and around there regularly. I agree, it is so beautiful you almost can't believe it's real. Enjoy, because you will bake when you get home.