Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Revealed Truth at the Edge of the Gorge

The Gorge Filled with Smoke

There are times my singularity stands out so starkly even I gasp at its meaning. Yesterday, standing at the top of the horseshoe cresting the Taos Volcanic plateau was one of those times.

It had been creeping up on me all day during my drive down to Albuquerque to pick up a friend. Even my manner of friendship is unique. I have friends in rotation more or less and seldom more. Friends for me do not come in groups, cliches, bunches, collectives, or even covens. They are more often than not artists and as much loners as I am. I make few demands on them and do not accept many demands on me from them. One of the bigger demands is "stop the car." In my wild and crazy drinking days that had one meaning but now as a photographer it is infinitely more serious. My photographer friends totally understand this and are therefore preferred in the rotation, others are definitely befuddled.

Yesterday as my non-photographer friend and I emerged from the Embudo Canyon and the Rio Grande Gorge came into view I requested calmly (at first) she find a place to pull over. We had at the time been discussing the Gorge, Rio Grande Rift, or as she called it, the Crack. but also a worrying plume of smoke visible from Espanola, and from whence it came. Multi-focus conversations are a plus in my friends.

Smoke from the Alamosa Rx Burn

She was quite proud of herself for having the inside language of The Crack. I had never heard the term even though I had lived here longer, and was somewhat offended at the term. It just sounded rude. But that was not why I wanted her to pull over. It was the smoke from what I now know was the Prescribed Alamosa Burn in the Carson National Forest. Its position looked rather like a range of volcanoes had blown their collective tops. Besides it was incredibly beautiful. And I had to record it on my DSLR.

And it was a bit scary. Not that anyone else at the rather busy horseshoe pull over noticed. Several people were chatting on cell phones (one place known for good reception), a family was having Kentucky Fried dinner (Taos had been choked with smoke all day we were told), and there was to be some sort of welcome back party being organized for a friend driving up from Albuquerque. Nobody had a clue what was burning, one knew it was a prescribed burn (though he had been unaware they had changed the language from control), and two didn't know anything was burning. Several obviously thought we were a bit bonkers to care.

My friend is trying to gather information about the conflagration beyond "The Crack." And I have made the decision to just ignore everyone and everything but the view through the view finder until I can get home to the computer and my real buddy, Google. I have absolutely no doubts I was the odd one out, and I considered that a decided advantage.

I do not fit in. I have never fit in unless I am totally faking it. Mother used to give me faking it tips She never got that I do not want to fit in if I have to call the beautiful Taos Gorge the Crack. One of the new shows on TV this season is Scorpion about a group of geniuses that solve problems. They have a normal friend that is always giving them "fit in" tips. I certainly am not a gifted person on their level but I totally understand the "fit in" Tips. They are quite good at the look I know I give when passed these gems. That look has gotten me in deep dodo from time to time which is why I love a large digital SLR Camera with a big lens. It hides a multitude of sins.

I did get four or five pictures while wishing I had been there with Jessica instead. She is a photographer and would have totally understand staying until the sunset. Meanwhile the friend I was with went down one in the rotation because of The Crack. And I am sure she thinks less of me because I did not give her kudos for being among the insiders.

Two things were important 1) the pictures, and 2) that Google revealed it is the 4,400 acre Rx Alamosa Burn on the edge of the Jicarilla Apache land.

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