Thoughts on sediment

Lynn Moncus

Last Sunday afternoon, Aggie and I finally managed to get outside the city limits without incident and had a most pleasant drive into Quay Valley in order to admire the landscape and the extraordinary cloud formations.

We watched one particular formation that appeared to be on the edge of the plains near the caprock. One large white mass seemed to be going from the ground to the sky, and I wondered if it were smoke or some wind generated eruption. While walking around in a pasture, I kept admiring all the surrounding beauty. At one point, the sun spot lighted Lover’s Peak, making the area glow amid the dark shadows. Silver linings were quite visible throughout the valley and caused me to pause frequently to admire the scenery and to take a few pictures.

Of course, Aggie was very busy admiring the ground and reading the news as she dashed around. Watching her pleasure as she enjoyed the fresh air and some freedom made the afternoon very special. Because the wind was calm, the spirit was also calm, thus permitting this woman from Ima to think pleasant thoughts as we walked.
I then decided to go to the Tucumcari Lake Bed in order to take some pictures of that disaster while the white stuff wasn’t blowing. That is one amazing sight as the surrounding area looks as if it is permanently frosted. Several people have asked if that white powder has been tested for content, but no answers have been received. Although we are told that is alkali, some of us may not be true believers as that bed has been pasture land in other years when the lake bed was dry.

We are aware that the lake has not been allowed to go dry for a number of years and are also aware that more than rain water has drained into it and was even killing the cat tails before the total drying occurred. In listening to others, I have learned that some of the natives think this would be an excellent time to clean that bed in order to rid it of the dead cat tails and to plow under the white sediment just in case it is as unhealthy as it smells.

Neighbors in the area have complained about their allergies being more active than usual, and some have mentioned they are having a bit of difficulty in breathing.

They would most definitely feel better if they knew for sure they weren’t inhaling harmful elements and knew the sediment would be plowed under do their homes and surroundings wouldn’t be covered permanently with all that powder.

Most of us have been around playa lakes and have seen them as mere lake beds in pastures without having such a collection of sediment. At times, they were stocked with catfish and would most definitely have an order for a few weeks after the water disappeared, by that dissipated and grass covered the bed until major rains came along to fill them again. Perhaps something could be done before more of the area is damaged and before more people have to suffer inhaling the blowing sediment.