Going to “the canyons of home” two Sundays in a row was a major treat. The second trip was suggested by my young friend, Elizabeth Morris, who said she’d like to check out the area again. Little did she know what lay ahead when she made that suggestion.
As always, I parked the car at lma, and then Elizabeth, Aggie, and I walked to the edge of the canyon above Black Jack’s Cave to admire the view and to look across at the remains of Grandmother’s house. The wind was blowing a nice breeze to make us aware that we were on the edge of the plains and to let us hear the roar of the ocean in those canyons. We visited a few minutes about the past, looked at the few wild flowers in bloom, and then returned to the car to drive to the road down to the house.
Elizabeth should have escaped when she got out to open the gate, but she returned to the car to proceed. When we stopped at the top of the hill, she should have said a few more words, but she very quietly took charge of Aggie and started down the road with me. Of course, going downhill is easy, even for an aging woman from Ima. As we walked, I kept a running monologue going by telling about various scenes and happenings along the road. The shinnery oak has now grown across the road and crowed the trail to the house, making movement slightly difficult and keeping walkers alert to avoid being hit by a flying branch.
Once we arrived at the remains of the house, we spent quite a while just walking and looking. While Elizabeth was seeing the ruins, I was seeing the place in all its glory, with gardens on both sides, flowers blooming in profusion, and people having their Sunday picnics on the porch or at the spring.
Because one of us was looking in all directions for rattlesnakes, I decided we wouldn’t bother to go to the spring because the bushes were too thick to make the trip worth all the trouble. We just continued looking and then decided to return to the car. At that point, I am sure Elizabeth was having trouble believing I had ever run up that hill and was wondering if I could manage to walk up it before dark. After a long struggle, the three of us reached the car and collapsed onto those comfortable seats while enjoying our fill of water.
We then drove across Alamogordo Valley to enjoy a picnic lunch on the west plains. We spent most of the trip across giving me a chance to catch my breath after that short climb and then began to discuss the beauty of our surroundings as we drove back. Having a captive audience gives this woman from Ima a chance to do a lot of pointing and talking. I am not sure Elizabeth was awake or even listening, but I had plenty to say along the way.
Having a young friend who has the courage to take such a trip is very special.
Elizabeth knows I no longer climb around in those canyons when I am alone and had a vague idea I might just enjoy a chance to walk to the house once again. I surely owe her a big thanks and a cup of coffee or two for spending that day with Aggie and me.