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Desert Night Pick-Pockets

  • Blood-Super-Full Eclipsed Moon - That's what brought us to Caprock Canyon State Park.  I was looking for dark sky. Not that you need it for a super moon eclipse, but the place is beautiful and has a wild herd of bison, (which pleasantly block the road quite often) so there is that. And, we did get to see a lot of sky when the moon was fully eclipsed...  Everything seemed perfect.  I had scoped out a pretty sweet spot off the road up onto the ridge of a rising wall of the canyon.  I took a few photos of my partner perched on a perfectly positioned, red canyon, stone and my son joined in helping me do some light painting for the photos.  The moon performed spectacularly.


    At some point, I got tired of fiddling with getting it right and decided to spend the rest of the event...

    "just" being there.  


    I climbed up on the rock with my partner and my son. we lied with head and feet in line with the milky way and we talked.  I don't recall much about the content of that conversation, and that's ok.  We laughed a lot, and we were all...

    "just" being there.


    The moon finished eclipsing as our attention was brought to the brightening swath of Milky Way.  A coyote started up a lone chorus.  I've never heard a coyote by itself before, which is weird because you always here about the lonely desert coyote.  I'm guessing that eastern cotyotes are more pack animals like their mixed-in wolf ancesters which would explain the cacaphony of coyote song back home in New York.


    After about three minutes of full eclipse we all decided we wanted to get back to the car and home.  I packed up my camera and all followed me back through the now-in-darkness, sketchy "trail" back to the car.  I fumbled for my keys... nope... oh yeah... did I hand them to someone so I could work my camera?... nope... Did I leave them in the car? That must be it!... NO!

    "NOOOooooo!" (This was in my head not out loud.)


    "I guess I will have to walk back in and get them."  I announce calmly, as if it was a simple matter of finding my way on a well lit trail to the precise spot in which the keys were mindfully placed.

    The fam started following me.

    "No, that's ok. You guys should stay here and signal me with light if I get lost." I replied blase.

    And with that I head out, alone, shining my cell phone along the hints of trail, back to our perfect rock where I am having some doubt about finding my keys.  I make it to the rock just fine.

    "Yes! now keeeeysss... where are they? Not by the rock, maybe near where I had set up my camera? nope..." I shine my cell phone around wildly for 2 seconds in slight panic. (man panic is always slight) "No, no, this isn't going to find keys" I scold myself.

    I pause for a few seconds and then shine my cell phone where I don't want my keys to be but feel they are likely to be - Across a ravine on a steep part of the wall with loose stone.  There they are, some desert scrub holds them at waist height by the lanyard which must I have left carelessly hanging out of my pocket for the desert to pick. I make my way more easily than I thought and grab back my keys.

    "Jerk!" I think at the unmoving shrub"

    "What?... Whatever." it replys

    "Nothing, I guess." I grumble in my head as I head back to the car.

    "No actually this went well." I remind myself of the unnecessary some-doubt I was having earlier and the ever-so-slight-man-panic.

    That calm able-to-breath feeling washes over me in the dark as a warm breeze catches all the hairs on my arms and legs. I'm not sure where the car is, but I let out a whistle my family often does in crowded places like grocery stores to locate each other.  It's answered and I reorient and head straight for the car, for home, and back to knowing I'm competent. Not perfect, just competent.

    I can "just" be here.