Out in the sticks near Tucumcari

Posted by on Jan 16, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

North of Tucumcari, NM

I was at that trashy rest stop on the Cimarron River, you know the place off highway 54, the one with the railroad span to your right headed south?

I was talking with a tree about how things were and it said it couldn’t complain. Said its mother and father used to be up the road a bit either side of a barbed wire fencing the highway, and they never had it this good. They had full-on wind 365, and the only water they got was what run off the highway twice a year. They made do with what they got and seeded when they could.

This tree said its particular seed blew into this rest stop on a rare north wind, rather than the trades that almost always doomed elm seed to the wastelands, with no chance to sprout and root. Those that did through sheer grit didn’t reach longer than ankle high to a coyote pup before they keeled over and blew away.

The tree said it really liked the community of plants here, they was family, real strong though most every one of’m stunted, starved for love, and cripp’d up pretty bad. But they was alive, that was the thing. The parents never promised them a rose garden, only a chance to root & find out just what-the-hell kinda thing they might be.

That cactus over there found out and’s been complaining ever since, all the time grousing about what a rough deal it was dealt, how it didn’t ask to be a prickly pear bastard, how-come not a yucca with pretty flowers and stuff? Now that yucca was a cactus, not a Mickey-mouse-eared thing everyone talks down to. The elm said the whatever-it-was slept late and got up cranky, you’d think its spines was sticking more in than out.

Now the elm had a real story of deprivation and hard times, being an orphan down the road from its folks’ graves and all, brothers and sisters parched to dust, but you never heard it rankle about it. Elms was tough, they thrived on bad times, they loved bad times because then elms really feel alive and get to dream of turning things around and someday looking like one of them elms down there on the banks of the Cimarron. Runs sand on the surface, but deep down is lots of water. No, up here is good, real good, strong winds, get to see traffic whip by and the train loco-moting cross the span, maybe some horizon even.

I said maybe what that mouse-eared, down-home ugly, bitchy little cactus needed was for another like it to grow nearby, and it’d court it with pollen hauled over by bees and butterflies. Two uglies could make a pretty…

The elm said could be, could be, but… I waved, said I had to get back on the road to Borrego. I went over to the cactus and looked it over. Not bad, really, it had its beauty, the lopsided symmetry, the shriveled-up Mickey-mouse ears and buds and poisonous tiny barbs at the bases of thousands of long sharp spines promising a better yesterday, though not tomorrow. I mean it was saddled. But someone has to be a cactus, y’know. Guess I’d bitch too

2 Comments

  1. joyfully distinctive

    • Thank you, Barbara Matson!! Your comments keep me going.
      Marilyn has Alz so I’m outta circulation, but still kicking. You too, I trust. My son Ben is living with us, he organized every aspect of our selling the Mnpls house and getting us here, and he was the one who found this house for sale by that hairdresser, name escapes me, but he is in that salon next to the bike shop. I’m well except for the directline of suffering tween Marilyn and me. Not suffering but…something. I hear her struggling to get outta bed so I gotta go, be back oon. With love, Jack