NOT SO SPECIAL-EFFECT DAY
Day 36 Springerville to Red Hill
today: 25 miles Cumulative: 701
Before the sun rises I have been awake several times because the cold has even gotten through my sleeping bag laying here in this parking lot next to the camper of the other journeymen. And my sleeping may has a slow leak so I am laying on the cold asphalt and ready for breakfast when I hear the others getting up. Rusty and Casey are making this trip together, one on bike one on foot wheels, Casey picking up Rusty at the end of each day. They tell me which roads have blind corners and which states to avoid and how Texans use the shoulder as a passing lane, and how inbred white boys in pickup trucks will be throwing bottles and cans and other projectiles. They are not as seasoned in the school of loitering as I am and leave shortly after breakfast. I stay on for another hour to drink coffee, I will walk in the dark again tonight. On the way out of town there is a mural showing conquistadors and missionaries marching on the peaceful villagers that once lived in this area. Convert or die they say.
2 miles out of town a highway patrolman that I talked to yesterday stops and hands me a bag full of jerky for Cosmo. Monty Long is his name. Today I enter New Mexico. and the landscape changes to familiar colors and more juniper trees. The same thing happens to me whenever I cross the border into Wyoming, I always notice that it has different colors, more gold and bluer mountains, a subtle difference, but Wyoming blues and golds are not like anyplace else I have been. So New Mexico has something different as well. Another shade of gold, lighter, like white gold. Today I want to see more than subtlety, I want to see fireworks, but I cannot have the fields of fire everyday, I have not earned them yet today, I am only a few miles into this. So I listen carefully and I hear many things on this New Mexico road. The power lines make sounds like sword fights and meadowlarks make their calls, taking me home to the field I lived on and the meadowlarks there and Alissas voice because it is more than human.
6 more days and I will see her but I can't imagine six more days because already my feet are hurting and I thought that at some point I would get into a rhythm and the physical pain would stop but it hasnt and there are 160 miles between me and that motel in Socorro. And a song I keep singing about meeting her there that I sing everyday, and I sing it as loud as I can for this empty road and setting sun. "The next time that I see her will be a Motel in Socorro, and I will have blisters on my feet... and Ill come limping into town with blisters on my feet, but I know when I lay down in her arms... therell be no gravity, therell be no highway anymore, therell be no shoulder, therell be no shoulder of the road... and there will be no pain and I will not be afraid, in her arms...." but I am not a song writer and I would be embarrassed to tell you about these songs but I have already said so much so why not say it all, and I sing them with a country accent that I dont really have.
And just before sunset I have to stop to deal with my blisters, they are back. And they are under other old blisters, deeper than any others that I have had, duct tape and mole skin and lets try this again. Cosmo needs duct tape too, her boots have fallen apart and the rubber is worn through. Today she gets duct tape boots. Mine are not feeling better but there is nothing I can do about it so I keep going hoping that there is some kind of other side to this month of pain. There has to be. Overcast and not so special-effect blue sky moon like the sun, just a haze of gray lighting my way. And ahead I see Red Hill, they said that it is not a town, just two buildings, but if I see any lights on I am going to stop to talk to someone to get my head out of my feet. And there is a light and it is the only person that lives in Red Hill and the other building is his too and he offers us a couch. Tracy, the Mayor of Red Hill and a TV with 500 satellite channels and no tent to set up and no asphalt to sleep on. I dont want to watch the 500 channels but the hot water and no wind and I pass out like I was drunk. My mother could still out walk me.