Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Water in a thirsty land

I cannot claim credit for that phrase although it has stuck in my mind for decades. It was originally written by the late Raymond Carlson, for many years the esteemed and seemingly eternal editor of Arizona Highways magazine. There can be no doubt he knew and loved the southwestern desert for he had many such phrases that captured the essence.

At any rate, that is what I experienced yesterday. I had driven up to Capitan, a small community north of Ruidoso at the edge of the mountains and the eastern NM prairie where a dear friend lives. Someday I will have to tell you about her amazing house but that is another tale. Anyway I took my laptop computer--the one that was too big and heavy for my recent trip--and a flash drive full of pictures. We spent several hours looking at them while I answered Kathleen's questions and kept up a running travelogue. All at once we were jolted by the sound of thunder. It was way past lunch time so we drove down to the town and feasted on a yummy salad at a neat little cafe. By then rain was falling but mostly just a gentle drizzle with a few booms and flashes some distance away.

I realized I had better head home and decided to go by way of Carizozo instead of back up and over a shoulder of Mount Blanca to Ruidoso and then  through Apache Pass, some 7000 elevation feet or so. I had to use the wipers most of the way down the hill but it did not seem bad. I got to Carizozo which hovers between the juniper hills and the edge of the desert and the sun came out.

Ah, I thought, I'm almost home free. It is roughly sixty miles from there to Alamogordo. I had to go up and over a final ridge south of town that separates distinct zones of climate and vegetation. And then on the south side, I ran into a virtual wall of water!

A storm had come spilling down off 12,000 foot Baldie or Blanca and it was a wild one. All at once I could hardly see the hood of my little Focus wagon to say nothing of the road. Winds buffeted me back and forth across the water slide that passed for a highway. I did not dare pull off as I could not see the edge and did not want to end up in wheel deep mud or even worse, a running arroyo so I plowed on at a slow pace.

Now and then a semi would suddenly appear, about three car lengths away. I would scroonch over as far as I dared and it would roar past, adding to the rain with a huge wave from the drenched road. I got through one of those rain bands to enjoy a drizzle for maybe half a mile but soon hit another and then two more before I finally got out of that zone.

Yikes! I don't think I ever drove in harder rain. There was water everywhere as it was one of those frog strangler flash flood making sort of rains. The only worse time I could recall was when I was going back to Colorado after my first trip to look at property here in August of 2011. Just short of one of the little towns between Trinidad and Pueblo, I got into a fierce hail storm. It was crazy. The noise was deafening and it soon felt like driving on a road paved with ball bearings. I didn't get into a wreck or even see one but it was scary!!

At any rate, I finally got out of the storm yesterday and the last thirty miles or so were calm. It didn't begin to rain here until after supper time, about eight. We got a tremendous light show for an hour or more and then it rained. not hard though. It was just a moderate, gentle rain all night long. This morning there was 1.1" in the rain gauge! We had low clouds and fog for awhile but then it became mostly clear and there was no rain close to us today although some dark clouds billowed up over the mountains to the east. So, we welcomed water in a thirsty land and I did not hear of any serious flooding or damage. When you score both of those, it is a good day in the desert! This evening there was even a rainbow that lasted a long time and moved along south above the rugged hills. It was much like this one and we saw some clouds like the classic thunderhead but also some very black and ominous looking ones but they drifted away.

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