Buddy and Irma wanted me to meet them in Springer around 6:45 for dinner with them and some church friends. And I'd not spent much time at all enjoying the sights of Cimarron Canyon yet. So after Buddy and Irma left for the Museum, I read for awhile with the humingbirds, took a shower and headed into town. Ethel and Red Holt had just returned from their 11,000 mile vacation up to New England then across to Alaska and the Yukon. We visited for quite awhile and they gave me some nice stones from Dawson City and Glacier National Park.
Then I went by the Burrito Banquet and got a green chilli Totale burrito, chips and salsa and a lemonade to go and headed down the Canyon. There are two spots I like to visit each year. The place where we used to go swimming on hot days and the place where I cast out the remaining negativity surrounding my divorce from Shelly Brown. Sometimes I find I treat her memory like Lord Voldemort, the name that cannot be uttered. Visiting those places used to be about reclaiming them for my own. Now it's about enjoying the scenic beauty and communing with the spirits of the place.
So I ate lunch at the old swimming rock. Pleasant memories of hot afternoons and a whole gang of people going down to the river to swim naked in the extremely cold water. Cimarron river in the Spring is fed by melting mountain snows. Good fishing there too if you know where the deep pools are. Cimarron Country was extremely green this August, due to good snows in the mountains over the winter and a healthy monsoon rain season late in the summer. Lots of sunflowers and other wild plants. Some of the sunflowers had these masses of red flying bugs on them so thick they looked like part of the stem. When you squished them (hey a bunch of then crawled up my arm) they left a blood red stain on your skin. The river was running full and noisy and the water was very refreshing to dangle my feet into. Had there been other people willing to get naked, I'm sure I would have plunged all the way in.
From there it was down to my meditation spot on the river. I got out my chair and sat quietly, inviting a vision and I got one. A shining triangle. On the right side was a snake, on the left was a cougar and on the bottom was a hawk with it's beak open. Nothing else presented itself. The snake I believe was my encounter at the farm before I left. The hawk I was to encounter very soon, an old friend. The cougar was to come a couple days later. After the vision, I went down to the water at the spot I'd washed away the ashes of the old feelings for Shelly. The river was glistening in the sunlight and just begging for some photos to be taken. So I obliged and got some really good shots of sky, water and flora. I stayed for an hour or so until it felt like the time to leave. Then I made my way out through my old home of Miami, NM, back to Springer and down I-25 to Colmor once more.
An afternoon storm had gathered full of lightning and rain and sat right over the old school. I waited for it to do it's thing but it was being lazy that day so I went on up. The school was magnificent and surprising in its immensity. I spent most of the afternoon there shooting and trying to avoid rattlesnakes. You can see the whole shoot here.
After Colmor, I drove for several miles down the sunflower and weed enclosed highway 85, which parallels the Interstate in it's own lazy fashion. On the way back, I spied a cliff wall with with some kind of animal burrows dug in. From the right perspective, it reminded me of the cliff houses at Bandelier National Monument, much further south. I'm not sure what lived there, but a group of hawks was hanging around and seemed interested.
I noticed one hawk trying to get my attention, hopping up and down on his phone pole. I realized then it was the hawk from my earlier vision and it was an old friend. His name is Red Hawk and he is the animal persona of my sister Starhawk's main spirit guide. I'm the only one who has ever been able photograph him. And this time, he even talked to me. Of course I didn't know what he was saying. Starhawk had to translate for me a few days later. Basically he was telling me that my reunion with her would go as planned and I didn't need to worry that it would get messed up as it has the past few years.
After awhile, Red Hawk got interested in a female hawk on another pole and left me to my own devices. So I drove back up Highway 85 and got to Springer and Minnie's Dairy Delight just before my friends did. It was nice meeting their pastor and some other fiends. Some folks from the party on Friday showed up as well and we all had a nice conversation. Afterwards, I drove back into Cimarron and hit the Saint James Hotel bar for a couple drafts of Shiner. Talked to some Philmont folks and then went on back to the house to read and talk for a few hours.
On Monday, I called up to Weston, Co to make sure my ex-inlaws were going to be around. Then I headed up US 64 to Raton so I could get on I-25 and head up over Raton Pass to Trinidad, CO. I made a brief stop in the old ghost town of Colfax to discover a train car I'd photographed many times before had finally collapsed into a heap of boards and splinters. Sometimes change is slow but eventually everything changes.
Instead of taking the bypass, I drove through downtown Raton, reminiscing on drag races, drive in movies, underage drinking parties, girls and lots of other great memories. Then on up over the pass, past the ruins of Morley and Dick Wooten's old toll road. Then on to Trinidad. I got off the Interstate and on the CO Hwy 12, the highway of Legends as it's called and headed up though Cokedale, Segundo and Primero to Weston. I missed the driveway barely and had to turn around. It's hard to see if you are not slowed down at the right time. and if you slow down too much you might get squashed by a fast moving log truck or dump truck hauling sand for Haliburton who has lots of gas well in the area. I found my ex-mom-inlaw waiting for me in the house my ex-wife bought for them. Nice place with land going up behind it and the whole place overlooking the Purgatoire River Valley. Mom and I chatted for awhile and then decided to go into Trinidad to Shop. We found a bead store which was closed but the girl who ran the store next door, an eclectic consignment store was able to open it for us. I chatted with her while Mom went to the bank. I ended up with about $75 in beads. Then Mom and I went back up to Weston and had some lunch. I took a nap on the comfortable couch that was to be my bed that night. Later I helped get dinner ready and waited for Dad to show up. He's normally logging but hauling sand for Haliburton has become more profitable of late so he's doing that. I asked him what they do with the sand and he explained to me everything I ever wanted to know about drilling natural gas wells. Sand and water are forced into the coal seams to force out the natural gas which is collected in the well and piped off for consumer use. We had green chilli burritos, salad and wine for dinner, well Dad had beer, Mom and I had wine. Then everyone retired pretty early because Dad had to be in his truck at the site by 6 am. Right before I was getting comfy on the couch, Mom came back out and said, "Oh, just thought I'd warn you, we have had some scorpions in here!" In my mind I said, "OK, I won't be sleeping now!"
Seems they had a wood pile on their porch for awhile and the scorpions got in there and somehow found there way into the house. I slept very little that night. The next morning, I awoke as Dad was leaving for work. I got up, had some green tea with Mom and went on a two mile walk with her. She's ten years older and she kicked my butt on a two mile walk. After a shower, I said my goodbyes, called my sister, Starhawk and headed up to Pueblo. She was driving down from Denver. We met at Crackerbarrel, had lunch and lost ourselves in conversation. I told her about Red Hawk, showed her the photos and played the audio for her. She confirmed for me what he was saying. I then told her about my great, great, great grandmother Sh'na whom I'd only discovered in the last year. She gave me that all knowing Starhawk look that said she was glad I finally figured it out. Starhawk as it turns out is the reincarnation of my great, great, great grandmother. Figuring this out herself is why she decided to adopt me several years ago. She was happy that I finally knew and happy to hear about all the changes that had come about for me. I told her about my vision. About the snake and the hawk and the cougar. She smiled and said she knew about the cougar, Cougar had been one of her earliest spirit helpers, even before Red Hawk had come. Our time was cut short by a call from her daughter who needed her to return to Denver for some family business but we exchanged some gifts before we left. I gifted her with a hawk wing that chimerae had passed on to me several months before. She told me a strange tale of how she had gone to bed the night before and Grandmother Starhawk had come to tell her she needed to give StoneBear a gift of a necklace. In the morning when she woke, there was a necklace laying on her dresser that had not been there the night before and no one in the house knew where it had come from. It's a round silver pendant that shows a shaman with multiple outstretched arms and she told me that Grandmother Starhawk had said, "Tell StoneBear he is ready to take the next step in his Shaman's path." We hugged and promised we'd do a better job at keeping in touch and then parted ways.
I drove back down south with my head in the clouds. When I got close to Trinidad, I felt a strong urge to go see the shop girl from the day before. So I drove downtown and found the store and went in to talk. I shopped around, bought a few things and then talked to her about metaphysical stuff. She seemed interested so I told her about Stone Soup and invited her to one of our future gatherings. Then I left and drove back to Cimarron.
After dinner with Buddy and Irma, I drove back to the Colfax Tavern and had a couple beers with the bartender and some locals out in the beer garden. Bought a few T-shirts and got ready to head back to town. A sliver of a moon was rising over the peaks in the Valle Vidal and Colfax ghost town as I was leaving. I got back to my couch bed at the house around 10 pm and fell asleep to peaceful dreams.
Next installment - Leaving Cimarron and Stone Soup.