Wynn and I headed north to Colorado to pick up Luke who was on his way back from the ranch. It was a lovely drive through the San Luis Valley. While we are very fortunate where we live to have access to the outdoors (i.e. long runs and walks), it still felt fabulous during these weeks in quarantine to get out.
A remote valley in northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, we took the two-lane road through miles and miles of sharp stone cliffs and vast landscape. We drove through the wide-open country and I listened to Wynn sing along to her favorite musicals.
This was my first time through San Luis, CO. It’s website reads, “San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, was established on April 5, 1851, with a present population of approximately 750. San Luis is predominately Hispanic, with strong ties to Spain’s religious, cultural, and artistic traditions. Once a part of four Spanish land grants decreed by the King of Spain, the town’s adobe architecture and classic Spanish town layout retain the texture of the historical and cultural influences which shaped the early communities of Southern Colorado. The surrounding area is mainly a farming and agriculture area.” There is a definite feel of stepping into a historic and weighty past here.
As we drove the remote two-lane road, which reminded me a lot of driving to the ranch, a car coming toward us blinked their headlights. I assumed that it was to let me know there was a patrol officer ahead and checked my speed. Several miles passed and no highway patrol anywhere. When the next car coming toward us miles later also blinked their lights, I wondered what might be happening and soon discovered.
In this part of Colorado, blinking headlights means, “Look out for wild mustangs on the road ahead.” Considering the history of the Spaniards, who brought horses to this area, this felt to be a blending of past and present.
Wynn and I slowed to a crawl and the dark swirl of shapes shifted to become a mosaic of horses and foals.
One little one particularly captured our hearts with its scampering about. Wynn took photos and we imagined the story, one the may resonate with parents in quarantine around the world.
“Come on, Mom. Let’s play. We’ve been munching grass all day. Come on, come on!”
“Puh-lease let’s play! Please, please, please, please!“
“Maybe if I crawl on your back, you’ll want to play!
“We’re leaving? You’re not going without me! Let me walk in front of you—right under your feet.
“Well, okay. If we must. No playing? Maybe later? Huh, Mom? Maybe later? Mom? Mom? Mom?”
As Wynn and I drove away, the horses drifted south. I kept checking the rearview mirror until they were a distant dark smudge. Wynn turned on the music and again sang along.
We drove north amidst mustangs and music. I thought again of the poem:
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.
as if it were a jewel
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.