. . . No matter how many times I’ve walked or run or hiked the 3.3 miles of the loop road in San Fidel, there is always something new I discover.
Yesterday, I took the dogs up the east side of the loop (less populated, more wild, and with a better view of the mountain and mesas at its feet). We veered through an opening in the fence along the road, and followed a lava-strewn, rocky track first eastwards and then up and north, topping out on a hill with a dilapidated carcass of a couch and its gutted counterpart of an old truck. Phonebooks, an old tube of toothpaste, and someone’s old baby blanket added to the detritus.
To the west, a white wall of coming snow-clouds shrouded the humps and outlines of the landscape, speeding nearer and nearer. To the south, heavier clouds – darker and thicker than their western cousins – raced towards us on the wind.
(March is the start of the windy season here. It is windy often, but March takes it to a whole new level. Most days it blows dust into your eyes at 30 mph or more, gusting almost double that. You never really get used to it. It is the great equalizer, and everyone complains about it.)
We turned to head back, and all of a sudden the wind was in our faces. A great gust of bitter cold blasted me in the throat, stealing my voice as I tried in vain to yell at Annie for chewing on chunks of cow pies. She never heard my choked correction, ate the turd, and proceeded to hack it up, it being full of thistles and other itchy, scratchy undigestibles.
The three companions, blowing about, barreled down the hill as the southern and western storms converged on us. With every other burst of wind, a quick, cold smell of rain would linger for a second before the next blow blew it away.
At the bottom, back on the road, the spattering of rain began. Icy drop here, icy drop there. The dogs shook it off every ten feet, the water getting in their ears as the wind forced them upright. Plastic bags hooked on barbwire and rustling erratically in the strong breeze caused Boon to go on alert and foof at me in low, warning barks. (My dad calls this noise “schtroumpfing”, as it sounds like les schtroumpfs, the French word for Smurfs). I hurried them along, down and up, across the arroyo, running over the cattle-guard into our fenced enclosure just as thunder crackled overhead and the rain began to fall in earnest.
In just the nick of time, we plowed up the steps and into the back door as a clatter of tiny frozen spheres of ice began pelting the roof and ground in a cold, stinging fury.
Then I warmed, and the dogs slept, and we waited for snow that never really came.
Be well. – SAWK