The campfire has me in a trance. I am keeping a watchful eye out for the resident bear that likes to raid the dumpsters for an easy meal. The stars are not as abundant as usual, because of cloud coverage, as usual. Of all the places I’ve been to in New Mexico, Ruidoso is still my favorite. On occasion, my miracle fire turns on me, throwing sparks in my face and smoldering smoke in my eyes. Driving into Ruidoso, I recognized the mountains that lay ahead, and the mountains remembered me as well. To put it bluntly, I knew I was home. I was listening to the radio earlier and the DJ was talking about how some people work two to three jobs just to live here. I don’t blame them. The sound of a bear’s cry is bellowing in the nearby distance. It is a very distinct sound, and although I would love to catch sight of him, there’s another part of me half tempted to go sit in the car. The temperature outside is on a steady decline as my body begins to shiver, but this is exactly what I wanted. Back in Houston, it is probably about 90 degrees outside at this time of night, while it is about fifty degrees here. The bear’s cry is fading off into the distance and my fire is burning its last log. Something is walking around my tent and I’m cursing myself for carelessly setting my flashlight down without remembering where I put it. A masked creature is circling around my camp, totally non-threatened by my presence. He is eating morsels of food around the picnic table which worries me because the dumpsters were empty the last time I checked, but as far as fear goes, walking around Houston vulnerable to getting raped, mugged, and murdered seems to be more of a threat to me than wild animals. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than a hungry bear. It is quiet time at the West Lake campgrounds, and although the place is pretty well-populated tonight, my fire is the only one still burning. I have written more in the past four days than I have in the past three months. It would be too much of an understatement to say I am having a wonderful time. Despite annoyances that seem to pop up on a daily basis, I am on top of the world both mentally and physically.
July 18, 2000