Sunday, January 29, 2012


Rockhound Park, New Mexico
Rockhound State Park, Deming, New Mexico

I thoroughly enjoyed my drive across New Mexico yesterday.  It was cool, but the sky was clear and the sun, warm.  The views were breathtaking.  I felt privileged to be allowed to enjoy the beauty of the day.  I enjoyed it even more because I knew my days of freedom are numbered - for now.

I found this little state park near Las Cruces by using the very selective method of choosing one that actually had a spot available on a Saturday night that also happened to be on my route to Arizona.  I wasn't disappointed.  As I turned off the main road, a road runner crossed my path.  I took that as a good sign  (I don't know why I was surprised to see they're smaller than the guy in the cartoons - like I thought Wil E. Coyote was a reality show?)

They had a lovely 2.5 mile hiking trail.  Visitors to the park are allowed to take up to fifteen pounds of rock back out of the park with them, but I'll admit I didn't look very closely for rocks.  I figured the trails were pretty much picked over long before I arrived.  The ground off the trails had lots of cacti and spiny undergrowth that looked like perfect snake habitat.  My hiking shoes are not boots, and I've never heard of rattlers having any problems biting through blue jeans.  So, I let the snakes keep their pretty rocks, and I stuck to the trails.

Sunset, Rockhound Park
It was enough for me.  I walked alone in the silence, the only sound that of my boots crunching overly loudly on the gravel.  The hills around were almost bare; piles of dirt and rock carelessly left here and there around the valley.  It would scare me to try to live in a place so hostile; I wondered anew at the courage of those who first settled the land.

Shortly after I returned to the camper, I got to watch the sun set.  God Is, indeed.  As day turned to night I could clearly see the twinkle of the lights scattered across the valley, mirroring the lights from above.  Some were miles away, none were close enough to mar the illusion of an earthbound star field.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "It has to be dark before you can see the stars."  I know I have some dark days coming.  I know I will find stars there.

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