Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in the City of Rocks

Vanta C sits atop a hill, surrounded by boulders up to twenty feet tall, overlooking miles and miles of New Mexican desert. It's so quiet that when you actually stop to listen your ears hurt so badly that you worry for a moment that they might burst. Low clouds roll over the dark mountains in the distance as the sun falls toward the horizon. The sky goes from deep bright blue to lavender, then flashes orange and red as it sinks below the earth. Hundreds of more articulate folks than me have attempted and failed to describe the sunset over the desert. This phenomenon, like love, resists encapsulation by our limited words. It is indescribable. Even a photograph, taken by the most expensive camera fails to do it justice. I'll stop when I'm ahead, then. All I will say it that it was the kind of sunset which forces you to realize that love is all around you, even when you're alone. It forces you to know in the deepest depths of your being that no matter how bad things get in your life, there is always, always something to be profoundly happy about.

The plan this morning was to drive the four hours from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Tucson, Arizona, arriving in time to eat some Chinese food and watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at the cineplex. It's what the Jews do on Christmas, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. As I drove westward across the desert, Vanta C rocked and swayed on the interstate, struggling to accelerate, only to max out at a nervewracking fifty miles per hour. I drove this way for about an hour or so, and finally stopped in Deming, New Mexico.

While driving down the main street in Deming, I noticed the Grand Motor Inn Restaurant and Lounge. The parking lot was full, the neon flashed 'OPEN', and a cowboy walked out the front door as I slowed. "A cowboy!" I turned and exclaimed to Ralgh, who feigned interest. The decision had been made. Christmas dinner was a tuna sandwich, fries and a salad (eerily similar to the truck stop salad of the previous night, in which the tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and dressing somehow all managed to be the same color) eaten at the counter of the run down diner filled with elderly folks and cowboys, while trying not to notice the waitresses standing with their backs turned toward me only a few feet away, complaining bitterly about the couple at the middle booth, who may or may not, but probably didn't, have a conversation about how the short-haired girl at the bar can blog a ridiculously long sentence which is full of commas but somehow manages, in spite of the author's mild intoxication at the present moment, to make sense.

The wind was still bad after lunch, so I checked the free campgrounds website to see if there was anything nearby. That's how I ended up at City of Rocks State Park, watching the sunset and marveling at how much I love my dog and how this could have been the most perfect Christmas of my life.

Season's Greetings!


John Judy said...

A) I love the way you write.
B) Jews celebrate Christmas by watching Brad Pitt movies?

Rachel Tamed said...

You give commas a reason to exist.