Saturday 5/4 City of Rocks, NM – Lake Roberts, NM
The City of Rocks is the phoenix of the mineral universe, born of hot fiery thing made smaller. This is its story.
(The following paragraph is really an aside, please feel free to skip)
Once, in the long ago time of visitor center informative animated videos, a very large volcanwhoa spat out some warm and wet over the American southwest. Things burned. Things bubbled. And in some time things chilled out. Then, as I understand it, there was an ocean, or maybe there was already an ocean and some wind was added into the mix, or maybe some Kyoshi level earthbender was inwrathed. In any case, pieces of the large slab of post cano pulled a Seven of Nine and separated from the collective. This was the time of conflict. Many of the fledgling rocklings wished for the old times when everyone and everything was one great hot tub. Many others relished in the misguided freedom of personal choice. One (called Lockano in some early texts) declared that the bit of dirt squished against his left flank was his and no one else’s, and demanded the establishment of an authority to protect his newly claimed property. This was great. All the rocks started grabbing at bits of stick and shrubbery nearby, claiming them colonized for queen and country. They ventured out, further and further from home, in the hopes of new and better goodies. And one day they looked around and found their neighbors far far away. And this was a bummer. It was around this time that some few of the younger fledgling rocklings discovered Thiruvavalluvarian thinking. They told the others of rebirth and universal order, that this new life was only the latest rung on a wheel of death and life, and that together they must follow the dharma to achieve veedu. They proposed that the whole society go vegetarian. Bunch of fuckin hippies. Lockano and the others scoffed. There was yelling, and much brandishing of sticks. But, with time, the wind smooths over even the hardest edges, and a truce of sorts was made. They settled down. They hung out. They got a bit bored. And eventually the rocklings looked around. They looked up and they looked down. They looked out across the field and to their shock, they saw that they were not alone. Other slabs of sediment. Other rocklings. Millions of them. A whole fucking world of rocky bits out there. And they understood that they were tiny. That they were nothing. That any sense of individual was but the most ridiculous and most temporary of illusions. But lockano knew better. He called a great meeting and told them look, look at all these wee shrimp rockladites. They are over there and we are here. That means that they are different. They are the other. But we, we are like a shining city on a hill (And then, as an appeal to the youngsters who’d recently discovered electric guitar music) a city of rock. City of Rocks. And so it was.
We spent our morning scrambling over and through the locals. It was a really nice time till a roaming hoard of cub scouts ran us off. City of Rocks really is an excellent park. The campsites are all nestled between big beautiful slabs, and the lizards love it. My only real complaint is that the informative signs are almost exclusively astronomical and I prefer more inclusive signs.
We drove into Silver City in the early afternoon. It was immediately clear the place is highly groofy. The art galleries well outnumber the chain restaurants, and the coffee shop played Luckenbach Texas by Waylen Jennings. The town was largely shut down by a four day bike race, so we chomped crepes and watched terrifyingly proportioned humans (Calves of Kings) zip round and round. Afterwards we followed a gallery tour around and ended up buying a beautiful print from a totally incredible German lady, who was as colorful as any piece.
Following a stranger’s suggestion we headed for Lake Roberts, a campground in the national forest next door. We’d left Slugger to watch the tent, and headed down to the lake for sunset ramen when we met Pete. He stopped us on account of the guitar on my back. He asked to see it, and to show us his own guitar. It was a sweet old Martin missing several pegs and completely charred. He told us it had recently survived a fire in the van where he lived with his two blonde woofers Buddy and Bandy. He asked me to play him a song, so I did, and in return he told us about life working as a chemical engineer, married to a mobster, and singing songs in old folks homes. He told us Gods last name was love. He offered us beers, a couple pieces of fire agate, and some advice about ghosts and living between the light and the dark. We offered him breakfast in the morning.
We ate ramen by the lake, and watched the sun paint some ducks.