This was Thursday’s sunset, but the colors are similar to what we saw on Tuesday evening coming back from Alamosa, Colorado on U.S. 285. The drive is spectacular under any conditions, and you get this hugeness in the West. That last hour from the Colorado line to Taos just kills me fucking dead. The isolation and the grandeur, the freedom of driving like I’m piloting a plane. On Tuesday night a beam of sunset under heavy clouds lit up the mountains forty miles away. Yellow aspen flickered on the slopes of a volcano. Sheets of virga glowed orange and purple all around. It was just impossible to take in. Nothing on Earth could look like that, and yet it did. I could hardly drive.
We’ll do this every Tuesday for the next two months. My wife picked up a piano teaching gig at Adams State and I’m the hotshot driver. It’s ninety miles each way. Up to now we’ve had it easy heading back at 6:00 p.m., but two days ago we hit the halfway point at sunset, so pretty soon we’ll be leaving Alamosa in the dark, aiee. The scenery will shrink and I will have to focus. Out there in the vasties, elk and pronghorn sometimes hang out in the road. (Because the pavement’s warm, I tell myself.) The Vibe has high-zoot aftermarket headlight bulbs that light up half the goddamn desert. If the buggers do show up—and they are big—we’ll have more time, or maybe not. I saw a smallish something up ahead the other night. A rabbit, maybe, in a dip beyond a gentle rise, shadowed from the high beams. When we shot past, a large coyote whirled to face me a split second in the glare!
My camera wasn’t with me, but I won’t make that mistake again. You never know what we’ll see out there on starry nights, this lonesome journey home.