What surely will go down in New Mexico as some kind of record-breaking string of storms persisted at dreamranch, an easy crane flight from the juncture of the Jemez and the Rio Grande, early today.
I thought I could sleep through the rolling thunder and lightning flashes at 3 a.m., then the downpour, but my mind started flooding, too. I realized I could hear the arroyo rumbling from my bed nearly a hundred yards above.
My first thought, as usual in a heavy rain at night, was that I was glad I wasn’t trying to sleep in a tent. I realized that my storm-phobic Australian Shepherd friend was wedged in a corner of the bedroom wall.
I thought I have become an indoors man, at least no longer a backpacker, remembering rain cascading off tent flaps and sleeping on rocky ground. I remember the new, lighter weight Gregory pack I bought for my 60th birthday, hanging unused in the garage since deciding that day that a nap sounded better than heading up Santa Fe Baldy.
Four a.m. and more thunder. I will await the reports of John Fleck (jfleck @jfleck) see just how epochal is this train of storms. I remember learning from him how small the mind’s eye is when trying to use its own experience to guage weather patterns over thousands of years.
I remember a big northern New Mexico snow in 1972 or 73, which caught me camping on Christmas Eve in Capulin Canyon, deep in Bandelier. Mus, an Agua Fria breed mutt, snuggled close to me on the frozen ground. I remember trying to quickly make camp in the Rio Grande headwaters, not far from Beartown, on the way down from Hunchback Pass, as an afternoon storm broke faster than I could stake out my shelter. I remember the tight grip of a wooden cot and the small warmth of a Coleman lantern in a canvas tent in the High Sierra.
I start remembering other stuff, too, but stop the replay on the mental recorder.
Is my hillside washing away in the boulder-rolling arroyo below? I am not going to zip into my clingy raingear to go out in the dark to find out. Not anymore. I’ll wait for morning light.