Through the years, we have visited about some days that were just so special they were almost unreal and have commented about our great good fortune to be able to experience such days right here in Quay County.
One more special day occurred last Sunday when Aggie and I headed for the canyons of home. At this time of year, one of us needs to make that trip in order to be close to our pioneer heritage and to know one more time just how very fortunate I was to begin life in those canyons.
Because I hadn’t walked down the first road to our little house in about 40 years, I decided we would do that so we could sit on a sand rock and gaze across the canyon to Grandmother’s house. That road had washed out in 1938 and was beyond repair; thus, the new road was built so we could move from the canyons to the courthouse. We could still ride our horses up and down the old road, but I often became a bit skittish when we would hit the washout because I could see to the bottom of the canyon and just hoped Spud wouldn’t lose his footing on the remaining, narrow ledge.
The same feeling hit as we ambled across that part and made me step very carefully as we passed the narrow ledge. Aggie had no idea why I was going so slowly while checking each step very carefully. She didn’t know that we could check out the natural cisterns below us in one big hurry if I looked down instead of looking ahead. Actually, the remaining ledge is still wide enough for a horse to pass so we weren’t really in any danger. Besides, a lot of bushes have grown up to provide good hand holds and a feeling of security.
We didn’t go very far down that road, but I wanted to find a big sand rock on which to sit and gaze across the canyon to Grandmother’s house. When we found the right rock, Aggie even settled into the serenity of our surroundings and enjoyed sitting in the warm sun while I did a little thinking. Since I am the only one left who can almost hear the echoes of the past, I relaxed in the peaceful solitude and just let the mind wander randomly.
Although the wind was blowing a little on top, it was totally still in the canyons and gave the thoughts a chance to materialize. Not even a vehicle could be heard because no traffic was passing the store. Bird song provided nature’s tunes and enhanced the harmony of sight as well as of sound. The winter shadows played around in the canyons to cause ever-changing scenery and to darken some areas while the sun spotlighted others, especially Grandmother’s house. In the mind, I wasn’t seeing the ruins but the place in all its glory and could almost hear the chains on the porch swings squeaking as they did when we sat in them. I could see Grandmother working in her garden and Grandpa storming around doing his chores. I could almost hear Grandmother answer when we would shout across the canyon at each other.
The short climb back to the car took a little while because I would stop every few seconds in order to absorb more of that peaceful scene and to remember certain experiences I had on that road. Those few hours provided warm memories of the past and an opportunity to relax in the present. People who are of the land just have to walk on it at times to know who they are and why they are here.