Friday, November 23, 2007

Wished I had the camera

Cold day, overcast and windy and I did NOT want to go for a walk, but I was restless, so restless: that post-holiday restlessness that comes after holiday conviviality and that can only be cured by forward physical motion. So I found an LL Bean overcoat suitable for arctic expeditions and dragged a small dog with me out into the chill afternoon.

I started out walking along the irrigation ditch that runs between the railroad tracks and Chaparral Road. It's interesting, the juxtaposition of poverty and wealth on a single road in a single mile. Old architecture and falling down old buildings, spruced up mobile homes and falling apart mobile homes, consumerism and Catholicism. I started to notice the play of light and shadow on the edges and folds of the mountains to the west of town. I got to the Loop and passed the house where my boss grew up, a house built by her father who I know she misses and thinks of often.

And the pig farm! Twenty pigs? And every one beautiful - not just beautiful but intelligent and curious and clean. The pig yard was full of soft sandy dirt, and they were rooting and digging holes, and I want to go visit them every day.

Chaparral Loop is itself on another plane of existence, a parallel universe of modest well-taken care of houses and families with polite teenagers, like the young man taking four sheep for a walk, and the young woman playing with her dogs in her yard, one of which looked like a cross between a black lab, a bear, and a dachsund. If you can imagine that. Turn the corner and three vacant houses, so different from one another that they could all exist in their own parallel universe - I might have bought any one of them, if I'd seen them before the grapes and raspberries and roses in the backyard of this house cast their spell on me.

It's a shame, in a way, that I didn't find a way to walk Socorro completely before moving here and buying a house. My brain works best at two or three miles an hour - driving around at twenty-five or thirty-five miles an hour, I just can't assimilate all the information. Perhaps I may buy another house one day, but it seems so unlikely - if I do, I'll do my househunting on foot.

Last wonderful image of the day, a tall tree, branches cut off, looking from one wonderful angle like a giant albino bear, the bark stripped off except for one place where it resembled a pubic mound - or a fig leaf.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Early Birds

This week Socorro has been hosting the 20th annual Festival of the Cranes. Last year we made it to the evening "Fly In" which is something to behold - around dusk, flock after flock of ducks and geese and cranes coming in to the Bosque del Apache Refuge to rest for the night. This year, we got up before dawn to see the morning "Fly Out" - in theory, flocks and flocks of birds heading out for a day's flying and foraging and dodging bullets, or whatever it is birds do all day.

Perhaps I was too bleary-eyed to appreciate what was going on, but it seemed like the cranes, in particular, weren't in a hurry to get moving. Or perhaps we were watching the Special Ed cranes, because they mostly just walked around, occasionally jumping up and down and talking to each other. Every once in a while, a small family group would get its act together and take off, flying low, and the ones walking around on the ground would walk around in circles some more and talk amongst themselves, and five or ten minutes later another little family group would get going.

We saw a lot of $8000 cameras and $2000 telephoto lenses, or maybe it's the other way around. I made a remark about how I was almost embarrassed to take out my $200 jobbie that's got the electrical tape wound around it to the keep the batteries in, and some wiseguy leaned over and said "A good carpenter never blames his tools." So I guess that's the lesson of the day - a good carpenter never blames his tools.

Monday, November 12, 2007

fiddling around

Sick kiddo today, so we are at home. She is mostly sleeping, and I am mostly sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and admiring the view, which looks like this:

Also, I'm foolng around with my fiddle, which looks like this:

Last Friday night, the girls went to the football game and took a picture of the Socorro High School Warriors in all their costumed glory, looking like this:

And the marching band:

Last Thursday I went out near the Very Large Array to begin an Oral History of an old cowboy named Bob Lee. His place was orginally homesteaded in the early part of last century, and his well is the orginal well dug by the original homesteader, and this windmill probably dates from the 1920s or so -

I do love an old windmill.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some maps and thoughts

The dogs really needed a walk tonight, so we loaded them in the car and drove over to the college. Daylight savings time just ended, so it's getting dark pretty early - here's a picture of the main drag just after sunset through my flyspecked windshield.

This is where we walked today.

And this is where we walked the last two times.

This book I'm reading by Thich Nhat Hanh, called The Art of Power, talks about doing things mindfully, and extols the virtues of unitasking over multitasking. Certainly the dogs would agree. If I were to ask them, I'm sure they would say "Just walk the dogs!" My western mind doesn't allow me to unitask. While walking the dogs, I am also exercising for weight reduction and better health, and having quality family time with my kids, and re-training one of my dogs to behave on a leash, and taking pictures, and doing my Socorro Stroll, and thinking about my blog, and wondering how long it will take to cook the cornish game hens and feed my family and -

I guess I have a non-minimalist monkey mind, but maybe as long as the dogs need walking, this blog will live.