|The view from atop Capulin Volcano|
I had a really great idea for this post earlier this week. I’m sure it was going to be something insightful and inspiring or maybe heartfelt and honest. But I was traveling with nine teenagers at the time, with no way to take notes, and now all I remember is the title: Ravens and Roadrunners.
|Red-winged blackbird at Cheyenne Bottoms|
Over five days, we stopped at Cheyenne Bottoms, a crucial wetlands for migratory birds on the Central Flyway; camped at Cimarron National Grassland, a vast swath of yucca, sage brush, and rocky cliffs; saw dinosaur tracks at Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico; toured Los Alamos National Lab’s linear particle accelerator; viewed the night sky south of Santa Fe with Astronomy Adventures; and took in panoramic views at Capulin Volcano. We even turned a near-disaster (a severe thunderstorm rolled through our campground and swamped our gear) into a delight, a slow cruise down a dark road in the rain to catch toads (at least three different species) and one tiger salamander.
Even for me, a non-scientist who is not in any way interested in how many millions of neutrinos or whatever bombard the human body on any given day, our travels proved wonderfully refreshing. For about an hour while the kids hiked canyon trails near the Los Alamos Nature Center, I sat on a rock and sketched a rough outline for a new short story. The plot and characters presented themselves so clearly and forcefully I had no choice but to drop everything and write.
If only I could say the same for my elusive Ravens and Roadrunners topic.