07 November 2011

Rio Blanco

Sunrise light and ribbon wire

When I add up the score for 2011, the year is going to have a lot to answer for. Too many dear ones have been ill, injured, lost, or caught up in disasters, and it's not over yet. But it has also been a year of reconnecting, reunions, finding the dearest of old friends and reminding myself who I have always been. In October, a few of us gathered for a reunion at Camp Rio Blanco in Texas, where I went as a Girl Scout camper and worked as a unit leader. It was a bittersweet reunion to celebrate our lifelong friendships and grieve a deep loss. It is a pocket oasis in the Texas Panhandle, green even in a fierce drought. It is a source of quirky magic and spectacular landscapes.

If I can face a storm with awe and wonder, take a moment to appreciate brilliant light, keep a group happily together, sing when it would be easier to snap, make fun of myself (especially singing), step aside for the tiniest wildlife, tie a knot that holds, have a Plan B (C, D....X) in mind at all times, fix what is broken, override panic in a crisis, laugh often, use a folding knife with no trips to the ER, give from the heart, give everyone second chances, sleep peacefully under the stars, know what those stars are, be comfortable with being alone as much as with being in groups, listen deeply to what is important, teach what I know and learn in the process, hear both sides of the story, use a hatchet with no trips to the ER, pitch in to help without being asked, appreciate wildness and wilderness, know when to lead and when to follow, and light a decent campfire with no more than two matches (and no lighter fluid) with no trips to the ER, I owe it all to this place and the people who made it wonderful.

The gate in autumn sunshine

It's West Texas. This decor is normal. 

View from the second floor of the Lodge

Scissortailed flycatcher seemingly perched in space.  I miss seeing these.

Wild turkeys on a stroll

The camp bell

It rings with as true a tone as ever

Sunset behind the Caprock

Junipers at sunset

Arrowhead Mesa, a popular hike 

Crescent moon over the flagpole

Velvet ant 

Ammonite in the fireplace of the Old Lodge. This probably started me on my warped path. 

Old wagon bed

Swinging bridge over Big Sandy. The first person across in the morning still gets the spiderwebs . 

Sign on road crossing Big Sandy. 

Framework for the covered wagon tents, in need of rescue. 

Many dreams under the canvas here. 

I would just like to point out for the record, though, that I still flunk braiding lanyards. I still think that my interest in natural history developed when the arts and crafts leaders looked at my work and asked me gently if I wouldn't rather go outside to look at bugs. Or anything that would get me out of there.

We are working on a history project for Rio Blanco now. Stay tuned for details.


Anonymous said...

Is it time to go back yet? - Fred

Anonymous said...

Since I missed the reunion, I particularly enjoyed these pictures. Good times...great people.

Anonymous said...

Oops...forgot to add signature -- Redd