Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sky Lakes

Another night of monsoonal rains with heavy complement of lightning and thunder blew across the high plains of New Mexico last night. Early morning light finds Cooper and me slogging down soggy trails and muddy ranch roads. While Cooper chases scent trails, I pause often to marvel at the sky lakes and poetry rain water scribed into red dirt passages across the tablelands. After years of drought recent rain patterns leave our neck of the Llano Estacado quenched. The arid lands thrive once more.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Sky Lake
(Cooper on Llano Estacado after overnight rains)

Running Water Road

My Cup Runneth Over
(Cylindropuntia imbricata aka Cane Cholla)


Monday, June 9, 2014

Circle Of Life

On the heels of fierce winds, damaging hail stones and flash floods high plains dwellers breathe a sigh of relief. Storm chasers and weather prognosticators relegate the events to almanacs. I take time for a short excursion north of Clovis, New Mexico to survey the aftermath of recent supercell thunderstorms.

Most striking is the vast expanse of lush greenery where just days ago withered straw stretched unto far-flung mesas and boundless horizons. Countless puddles, ephemeral pools and playa lakes capture slices of azure skies. They shimmer like turquoise jewels against the damp, terra cotta skin of Mother Earth. All manner of creatures afoot, soaring and slithering join in the joyous dance of life. Wildflowers regale the hoopla with stunning visual poetry.

I pause at the Running Water Draw and marvel at the churning, red torrent rushing down the normally dry watercourse. The draw is a watershed that spans the borderlands of Texas and New Mexico. For more than a hundred miles it serpentines and carves its way across the high plains of the Llano Estacado. At the eastern reaches of the plateau, the raging waters cut a canyon into the escarpment and descend onto the rolling plains ecoregion of Texas. Albeit dry for most of the year, the Blanco River is born. The latter is the headwater to the Salt Fork tributary of the Brazos River. Named Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers, the Brazos meanders south through Texas for more than a thousand miles until its waters mingle with the Gulf of Mexico south of Houston.

A rough-hewn rancher on horseback tending to cattle scattered across the banks of the draw grabs my attention. My mind eases into a sojourn on the circle of life. I dwell on a single rain drop within the soaking rains this plainsman implored of God to ease the ravages of drought. I visualize wind-borne swelter from the Gulf seeded by stardust formed the pleasing symmetry within each drop. Each drop is unique. Each drop is an answer to his prayers. Yet, each longs to endure the arduous journey to its home in the sea.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Endless Horizon
(Llano Estacado grazing lands north of Clovis, New Mexico)

Playa Lake
(Llano Estacado west of Clovis, New Mexico)

Llano Water Hole
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sodden Trails

After a fortnight of recurrent rains borne on tumultuous monoliths of ethereal bluster, Cooper and I revel in the prospect of sodden trails and resurgence of shortgrass prairie life. We meander towards the trail head. Overcast skies and fifty-degree temperatures liven our pace. En route we find that previously waterless clay pans scattered across the Llano tablelands are again opulent playa lakes. They teem with ephemeral activity. We forgo the slippery red ooze which paves ranch roads in favor of game trails. They wind across emerald blankets of grass. They slice through countless wildflowers intent on displacing withered prairie straw. Now and then elusive rabbits break cover and entice Cooper to lively foot races. He obliges without restraint. I pause to appreciate the aroma of damp soil and sage on the cool morning breeze. My heart enjoys the dance.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Sodden Trail
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico USA)

Purple Majesty
(Monarda punctata aka Spotted Beebalm)

Spokes Of Fire
(Gaillardia pulchella aka Indian Blanket Flower)

First Cholla Rose
(Cylindropuntia imbricata aka Cane Cholla)

Up Close And Personal
(Glochids on Cane Cholla fruit)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Melodías De Oro

One week after copious rains douse the arid Llano Estacado plateau numerous playa lakes still brim with the precious gift bestowed by thunderstorms. In the ordered confusion of prairie florae revival the golden melodies of yucca flowers reign supreme. The first hints of spine-fortified cactus roses join grasses and wildflowers in the the scramble for sunlight and sustenance from Mother Earth. Come walk a mile in my shoes. The natural world most certainly nurtures the primal threads that bind us to one another and illuminate our essence.

© Ilija Lukić 2014

Melodías De Oro
(Yucca campestris aka Plains Yucca)

Campanario De Las Llanura
(Plains Yucca)

Explosión De La Estrella
(Escobaria vivipara var. neomexicana on Llano Estacado near Clovis, New Mexico)

Rosa Amarilla
(Opuntia macrorhiza aka Plains Prickly Pear Cactus)

Linterna De Dios
(Plains Yucca)

Amor En Las Espinas
(Large Pad Prickly Pear Cactus)