July 21, 2010

land of enchantment

Aaron and I drove to New Mexico in late June. I mentioned the giant grass-hopper sighting we had on the way there.  What I neglected to tell you about was all the other wildlife we encountered.

Somewhere between Ozona and Fort Stockton, we came upon Paisano Pete, the Roadrunner.  He was just about the biggest roadrunner I've ever seen.  He seemed friendly enough, at first. But when it was time for us to be on our way, he became a bit pesky...
   

... meep meep...
After Aaron snapped this picture of Paisano Pete trying to make off with his wife, he dropped the camera and rescued me from what surely would have been a tragic ending.
Whew! That was close!

Later that afternoon, we visited Carlsbad Caverns and loitered around a cave entrance in hopes of seeing hundreds of thousands of Mexican Free-tail bats fly out for their nightly feeding. The park rangers call it "The Bat Flight."  Doesn't that sound so thrilling?
Come witness the spectacular Bat Flight!

I was particularly excited because I've tried unsuccessfully several times to witness this same bat phenomenon right here in my own town.  Unfortunately for us, nature did not cooperate and the New Mexico bats didn't exit en mass that evening.  Foiled again!

But we did see this giant fly.
(The bat is for scale.  It's not a real bat.)

But wait, look! A big bat head is biting Aaron!

{thinks to self Why is all the wildlife on this trip unusually large?}

The next day, we visited the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. While we did expect to see wildlife there (duh), I did not expect to see any creatures outside of their faux natural habitats.

But then there was this.
I wouldn't have been so surprised if this was a normal moth.
But, obviously, it is the elusive Enormous New Mexico Desert Wall Moth.

The highlight of our trip to New Mexico was attending my cousin's wedding. The ceremony was held way up in the mountains of Pecos National Forest, in a grassy field surrounded by magical Aspen trees.
It was beautiful.
Summer sun tinkling down through the Aspen leaves
cool mountain air
electricity of impending late-afternoon mountain storm
Love and Kissing and Mariachis

and then this butterfly landed on my sweet Aaron

wild and free to land anywhere it pleases in all of this glorious creation
and it chose Aaron.
{even fellow-wedding-goer-dude was impressed}

I think, for just a moment, it was contemplating slipping into that pocket.
But it fluttered away.

Then I thought of this quote from Charles Dickens
I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.
Mankind will surely not deny me what it so willingly concedes to the butterflies.

I painted that quote on a coffee table I had in college. I loved that table. My Dad and I made it together before I moved to Austin, especially for my college apartment.
I wish I had a picture of it. I should look for one.

Back to oversized wildlife spottings.

Now this last thing is actually the first thing we stopped at on the trip. And it's not exactly wildlife.
But it used to be wildlife. And it was big.
Although it is officially the The Deer Horn Tree, Aaron advised that it is not exclusively deer horns. There are antlers and skulls from other horned wildlife.

Isn't it kind of weird? And also interesting?

and slightly scary?

The end.

1 comment:

She answers to Layla said...

What a fabulous and fun adventure!! I like your eye for all things magical and flittery! :) Each time I've seen a butterfly while hiking I've made sure to say, 'thank you.'