On my way to get Chris I finally saw an owl, and there was the trail again, just like that.
At night we drove north into the dark mountains of Taos, climbing in our car to 9,000 feet and then climbing in our shoes to the Rio Grande where we stripped in the snow and stepped into the hot spring next to the river, which Carolyn showed us how to find.
The water was steaming and hiding our bodies, which were purple in the starlight. The waxing moon slid through the sky, and we watched Orion the Hunter walk across the mesa, tumbling along the treeline and finally falling head over heels behind the ridge, pulled down by the spinning earth. When his belt was gone completely it was time to go, and we climbed into the cold air. Our bodies were like dilating pupils while we put on our clothes.
We drove forever on rough dirt roads, past rock slides and mud slicks, and finally came to Carolyn's house, miles from anything and built into the mountain, with a shower in the living room and a toilet outside on the hill. We made a fire, poured bourbon, and they smoked. We talked about Japanese pottery, frozen pipes, Santa Fe lesbians, and the one-eyed neighbor who supplies the pot for free.
The neighbors are survivalists, awaiting Armageddon in an underground bunker with a weapons supply, a deep well, and a yurt filled with Buddhist art from Tibet.
Luck favors the prepared.