As we move past October’s frenzy
of balloons and beer fests,
we begin to settle in for the days
of crisp mornings and bright colors.
The calm after the storm.
Farewell dear friends. This is our reward.
This is a time to hold for yourself.
This is a time to revisit those secret places.
This is when the crowds move out and we
enjoy El Malpais on our own terms.
As places go, we are a scrawny bunch
tucked in between the mountains and the desert.
Camped out along the long slow river
or sprinkled across the high plains.
We wouldn’t want it any other way.
We come to know places as our own
although we have no right to do so.
We speak of them sometimes only to friends
who might share their own secret places.
Or might not.
These are sanctuaries of our souls.
These are places of peace we hold dear.
We revere the wind and the stars that shine
there like caretakers even when we are away.
The secret places await our return.
* * *
The Home Place — 2017
(Images shown are from the [not so secret] Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument on the east flanks of the Jemez Mountains near Cochiti Pueblo.)