Thursday, October 26 – this is out of order! Horrors! I thought I put it up when I was at the Starbucks in Amarillo but my laptop kept crashing so I guess it didn’t go. Here it is! A few paragraphs about how much I liked Palo Duro – hint: it was a lot.
It is so beautiful here that I have spent the entire day in a kind of crazy trance. I walked and walked and took about a billion pictures. My legs hurt and I do not care. I saw roadrunners! Two beautiful roadrunners who kindly let me paparazzi out on them! I met some horses! I took their pictures too and stood there and talked to them and it was so good. I walked for miles in the sun and wind and looked at this crazy red stone, these shapes and lines and spiky, beautiful desert plants – and I was really happy. The flock of turkeys just keep on coming back to hang out in the campsite with me and fall out of trees and generally act like the goofiest dinosaur herd in the Pleistocene (I suspect a former camper has been feeding them BUT HEY it is possible that they just love me) and it has been a lovely, lovely day. I even lugged the tripod partway up the road and stood there taking pictures of the last light on the mountains as the wind kicked up dust devils all around me and thought, I must never forget this. I have to keep this in my head forever.
When I was about 15 years old, I was sitting on the hood of a car as the school football team ran out in fading New England autumn light. They were wearing maroon jerseys and I don’t know what the hell was going on or why I was there – I wasn’t really a football team kind of girl, more a sort of smoke weed under the bleachers in torn black tights and combat boots kind of girl. Still, I remember looking at the light and the leaves and the boys, and thinking this is perfect: perfect America, perfect fall, perfect teenage moment and I must never, ever forget this. And I haven’t. I did the same thing a couple hours ago standing on red rocks with a camera and a tripod, taking the same picture over and over as the sunlight slid down the canyon and thinking, I must never forget this, never. I am perfectly happy. This is what happy feels like.
Then I came back to the camper and made about the best mushroom risotto I have ever made and, well, it’s probably a good thing that I’m leaving tomorrow. I don’t think I could process any more happy. My brain is not used to this or really set up to deal with contentment and it might implode or something.
Tomorrow, I return to reality, or at least Amarillo! In the morning I’m going to drive through the parts of this park I haven’t seen yet and then I’m going to try to go to Cadillac Ranch in the afternoon. And then, yes, then: it is time. The time has come. Tomorrow night I sleep. . . at Sam’s Club or possibly Wal Mart! Whoo! I will probably not be as happy as I am now! But it too will be one hell of an adventure and that is what it is all about. And I’ll have the gods’ own leftover mushroom risotto.