it was the end of a long day
as the light began to fade
and the final rain showers ceased
I walked with her
towards the end of the road
I looked off into the distance
an endless sky
with a touch of pink and purple
my favorite colors
the mesh of the two
in the high desert
touch each other
Its been months since I last wrote about this place,
and driving back home after a long poetry sojourn
I am full of joy and happiness
the crops out in the field await me
each day I greet them
each day they smile
each day green spectrums
Highway 70 going east from Phoenix quickly changes from HOT to cool and mellow. The big city is left behind and Hwy 60 blends into Hwy 70 at Globe.
The ride into Globe passes through Superior, a small town east of Phoenix up in the foothills. Its a stark transition. At 8am I hit Phoenix on June 30, 2010. Its 96 degrees. Its hot, real hot. My shirt is already off and the windows are down. Up at 12:40am, leave Pasadena at 2:00am.
LA is quiet at 2am, but not that quiet. At 4:40am on the Gold Line platform a simple car count is about 60 cars a minute, mas o menos. So, I am thankful to be leaving LA without lots of traffic, but even at 2am its not free and clear. I arrive in Indio about 2 hours later. The wind is howling, summer winds lead from the ocean back west, and the pressure differential causes motion.
As I climb out of the desert floor on I10 I look behind me to see the Palm Springs Valley, lots of lights and the final chapter in this leg of my south land journey. I am sad, but not too sad, it was a good time, with lots of good friends and lots of good poetry and wine.
The plateau on I10 narrows and soon the first light of day is upon us. Its 4:35am, and at this time of year we have light early. Off in the distance is Blythe. I am not sure I will ever see Blythe the way I did on this morning. She is off in the distance quite a ways, but the Colorado River and the irrigation ditches of Blythe can be seen from miles away.
Its amazing, really, but I finally now understand the Colorado Plateau. It happens just east of Blythe oh 30 miles or so. Everything transitions, gone are the harsh deserts and stark beauty loneliness of the pristine California desert and home is the southwest. The transition happens almost instantaneously.
its the mesas
is defined by them
the monument valley
of red rocks and
the feeling of knowing
that this place is familiar
but not there yet
just the beginning
of what will be a
soothing of understanding
that home is close
I drive for awhile and Phoenix is not really that far away. A calculation is made that going straight is the way to go. South to Tucson is out of the way, plus I like back roads any way and this will be my second drive on I60 to I70. The first one was back in early November 2009 after visiting Prescott and heading back to Silver City after a five night stay in Prescott.
Phoenix is a pretty nice place, if you like the desert and the heat. I don't like air conditioners and so I prefer climates where you don't need them. New Mexico cools off at night and so does LA. Phoenix on the other hand its a necessity. And so I will have to avoid this place, even though it could probably be a nice place to live.
For some reason I missed the traffic this morning. Or maybe its just a light day before the big 4th of July blow out. Or maybe the job market in Phoenix is causing more people to stay home. In any case, I fly through Phoenix happy that I missed the traffic.
Its really past Globe that things mellow out and become really quiet. East of Globe its Native American land all the way to the town of Safford. As you meander on the highway you are paralleling the Gila River whose headwaters begin in New Mexico in none other than the Gila National Forest. By the time the river hits the Arizona border the river is more of a stream, but it creates a valley and a desert arroyo system that is beautiful, pristine, and very appealing to desert rats like me.
I am happy driving, and I don't like to drive. In fact, I lived in the south land for 20 months and probably put less than one thousand miles of city driving. But out here in the open space, with the air smashing me in the face and the buzz of the wind I am in a state of awe and quiet.
Safford is a nice town. Its the main population center between Globe and Lordsburg. I stop there for some gas and pull off the side of the road under a big tree and eat some lunch. Last November when I passed through here I noticed some nice spots, and this time I took full advantage of them. I had a nice lunch from food I had cooked the day before at my pad in Pasadena.
Several days before I left Pasadena I was sad to leave. My apartment, although it was simple, was quiet and nice. I loved walking through the neighborhoods of San Marino and each day towards the end of my stay I thought about being present on those walks. Live each day, and I did on those final walks.
After 12 hours I cross into New Mexico and the dream becomes a reality.
Peace in New Mexico
When I drive back here
a surge of joy surrounds me
Maybe its the huge skies
that never end.
Maybe its the white fluffy clouds
that reach from floor to ceiling
on the giant horizon.
The light, oh the light can't be
shined into words.
The feeling of autumn,
the cool nights
the State Fair and the
Calling Jose to get another cord
the wood stove will be hungry soon.
The late afternoon winter sky
and fresh tortillas for dinner.
Green and red, only Christmas
when I go out for lunch or dinner.
That smell of smoke in the evening air
as I walk back from the river
the cotton woods having lost all of their
leaves by now
But peace, that is where I feel it the most
I awake in the early morning hour
and I feel
I know why
because I am home.
Home with my protector
that soothes me when I am sad
That part of my heart that I can turn to,
immediately she is there.
I don't have to dream of her.
When I go away
I always miss her
and she misses me
When I come home
I am happy and she is too.
We don't know why though.
The mind can not describe the
feeling of why.
I don't know why.
I just know.
Michael I Angerman
July 3, 2010