Sunday, October 16, 2011

Santa Fe Returns; Our Intrepid Traveler Falls

Last summer, a trip with a lot on the line. After intensive step work with my AA sponsor, I had arrived at the willingness, eagerness even, to make amends to a variety of Santa Fe friends, ranging from employers to ex-wives to ex-girlfriends. I have been blessed to maintain friendships with both of my ex-wives and many other exes (largely due to their unearned miraculous generosity of spirit toward me and my finally getting sober) over a great many years, but the specific amends conversations had not occurred, even after 7 years of sobriety. There were several other amends as well. Also on the schedule: scattering the ashes of my beloved dog Fiona in the pond at Sunrise Springs. Fiona spent the first two years or so of her life swimming in that pond and it was definitely one of her favorite places.

Here she is "helping" with the clean up from a going away party for me from 2001 in Santa Fe, before I moved to Los Angeles:

Also on the agenda: Electric Miles Project 2, another in a series of extrapolations from some of Miles Davis' 1970s music. Here's a segment of set 2, featuring our approach to Great Expectations:

I camped up in the mountains for most of the 9 days or so I was there, and it rained every night. My tent was leaking so I drove around with my bedding in my car all day, drying it out.

So it was a very intense trip indeed. It also coincided with profound grief around the state of things with The Poetess and other unexpected feelings. And more. So everything really opened up wide and it all felt like a combined catechism and catastrophe, blissful and liberating and dark and endlessly sad and joyful all at once. There have been many periods precisely like this in the intervening year, but this was especially something like a free fall. There was also incredible deep tissue body work from my highly recommended friend Darcy Alice Nicholson, and that led to a bizarre spiritual experience on the massage table. More about that later, or never. Maybe.

On a much more earthy, grounded note, I saw some great cactus sights. Echinocereus fendleri and a nice form of Cylindropuntia imbricata south of town, and lots of sky.

Santa Fe really is Cougar Country, somehow.

Classic Echinocereus coccineus up off Hyde Park Road, as well as equally classic Echinocereus triglochidiatus:

Always cool to see cacti growing covered by pine needles, at 9000 feet, in the shade.

Also paid a quick visit to the very rare endemic cholla that grows in a city park in Santa Fe, Cylindropuntia viridiflora. It has been speculatively reclassified as a hybrid (supposedly between imbricata and whipplei) but I think it is a distinct species.

Some pics of the Miles gig:

On the way back, I made several cactus stops, including a stop at the Little Colorado River canyons south of Woodruff. I have looked 3 times, a few hours each time, for the very elusive Escobaria missouriensis navajoensis RP33 here, to no avail. One of these days! It is awesome country, and always worth a visit.

The river was brown and raging from all the recent rains:

Some pics from a couple stops along the road from Holbrook to Heber and in the Heber area:

A cool flat and not very spiny form of Echinocereus fendleri from the Heber area:

Pretty seedlings of the same form:

Beautiful Agave parryi in the Heber area:

This was the last trip I took until October of last year. So now, I guess that means I am only a year behind. But about 20 trips to post. That's the kind of year it was. It's wild to just now be starting on the actual travelogue. Maybe nothing and everything is prefatory, anyway. What difference does it make? The point is, there are a lot of travels to absorb. And I keep going on the road again, so there's an almost humorous recursive quality to it.

But the journey of July 2010 was mysteriously inner and ineffable. Something raging like a river. Like beehive flowers. Like the thunder and lightning every night, the rain-soaked cold bedding, the electric music, the sun every afternoon. If I want things to be split open, if I need to get a clear window into anything, whether I want to or not, a trip to Santa Fe often does it.

This coming weekend, a trip back to the "poker ranch" near Ocate, NM. Have to go prayed up and ready for revelations (whether I win or lose money) as they always happen there, too. The trip there last October included encountering this evocative Yo La Tengo song and going completely into free fall again for days.

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