Wednesday, September 27

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Dispatch from the Edge

Since the cranes appear in late February and are gone by the time the vultures arrive in early April, since the aspens will leaf out a few weeks later and the warblers will find shelter there, since the wind will blow till most of the snow is gone from the high peaks and the meadowlarks offer their lilting serenade from valley cottonwoods, since the creeks will rise as the sun tracks north toward its solstice, since the swallows and nighthawks will swoop through the end-of-day sky chasing the smaller winged ones, since a river of bats will emerge every evening from the old mine up north to do the same, since the bluebirds will be hatching and minding their young ones, since thunderheads trailing veils of rain will drift across the valley on July afternoons, since the blue columbines will grace the edges of talus slopes and boulder fields up high, since valley meadows will go yellow with black-eyed susans and purple with the blooms of asters and beeplants, since the sun will settle into a more southerly path, rendering the light a little softer on August afternoons, since the hummingbirds will leave on their impossibly long flight to Central and South America, since the hermit thrush will add a few more ethereal refrains in the last light of an Indian summer evening before joining the great wave of songbirds headed south, since only the regulars—nuthatches, juncos, chickadees, and jays among them—will fill this hillside with their presence while the dippers flash through the riffles of the creeks in the canyons, since the elk will be bugling for their mates as the snowline descends from the high ridges, since whirling showers of yellow aspen leaves will be released to the wind, since the bears will forage through remnant patches of rosehips and chokecherries, since southbound cranes will fly out of low autumn clouds, pausing for a few weeks to glean the grain left behind from valley harvests, since the first flurries of snow will drift across the lower reaches of the higher elevations where the ptarmigans have all gone white and the snowline will continue its descent until the first real storm arrives, since the real cold days will come and go—mostly come—along with longer nights and a deepening silence, since the winds of spring will eventually begin to stir again, the cranes will reappear, and we will notice the big wheel of life turning (even though it’s turning all the time as the constellations remind us) and the sequence of events herein described will likely happen again, one might imagine time as a circular phenomenon, although it might also be that this is just a label which helps us make sense of things…that time is really just a shapeless medium through which everything moves, but speculations about the nature of time are best left to those who really understand such things; what I will say, what I can say for sure, is that I will join with those whose calendar looks more like a circle than a line and I will pledge my allegiance to the big wheel of life which, among other things, brings the western tanagers back to the pinyon beyond this window right about now, and which offers some hope, even in this precarious era, that what has been will be again.        

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