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
(Llano Estacado grazing lands north of Clovis, New Mexico)
(Llano Estacado west of Clovis, New Mexico)
|Llano Water Hole|
(Llano Estacado east of Clovis, New Mexico)