Comments from the Canyons
Published: Saturday, July 19th, 2003
When Aggie and I can’t think of anything else to do on a hot day, we take lengthy drives. Last weekend, we wandered around in our country for several hours and 190 miles. We were trying to capture a few pictures of places such as San Jon, Bard, Endee, Glenrio, Frost, Porter, Anniston Cemetery, Ute Lake, Logan, Obar and Nara Visa. What a drive! For once, Aggie was ready to return to the car in one big hurry each time we got out. The blast of heat made that scary vehicle easier to face. The monster told us the temperature was 107 degrees when we stopped at Anniston Cemetery. That caused us to drink more water and to start the engine promptly. While taking that tour in an air-conditioned car, I let the imagination run rampant by thinking of the discomfort of bouncing across that rough land in a covered wagon. Just think about those pioneers as they entered our county in search of new land on which to build homes. They had already ridden many miles before entering the Territory of New Mexico and had faced all kinds of weather. We can’t even begin to imagine how tired those families were as they made their first camp in our territory. Neither could they imagine anyone driving along in an air-conditioned automobile or even in an automobile of any kind. As we bounced along a little unpaved road and tried to keep from high-centering, I wondered what they would have thought had they realized we would be traveling 190 miles in a few hours while they did well to cover more than 20 miles in a day. Not only, throughout the racing, farming country. On top of that, we called Cousin Tink on the cell phone to let her know where we were and how hot it was outside. Also, we had a fairly good idea as to what we would see over each rise; whereas, they didn’t know unless a scout reported. They probably fought the grasshoppers that were bouncing off our car and wondering what on earth they were doing in these parts. The wagon sheets might have provided a little shade, but they also made the inside of the wagons into little furnaces; thus many of the sheets were moved away from the front of the wagons in order to let air circulate just a bit. Although the women’s and children’s sunbonnets acted as blinders, they protected the wearers from the direct sun and could be cool as water was splashed on them. Of course, it dried rapidly, but if the barrels were full, they could add more as they bounced along. By sundown, camp was made, and we can imagine the delight if that happened to be along the river or near a cool spring. In that event, a short swim might have been possible, and a drink of cool water would sooth the parched throats. While the men did their chores, the women cooked supper, did some washing and herded the children. Shortly after dark, all went to bed in order to be rested for another day’s travel toward their new home. At the end of our little drive, we returned to a fairly cool house and collapsed in front of the television in what we felt was an exhausted state. We don’t even know the meaning of exhaustion if we think about how we might have felt in the early days. I think I’ll just keep using imagination and enjoying today’s comforts.
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