Saturday, June 29, 2013

burt reynolds is god

At least, he was in the X-Files episode entitled "Improbable."  It is one of my favorites.

The premise was about how we choose to use our free will.  How we play the cards we are dealt.

It is not Bonhoeffer-deep theology.  But it played well.  Even though the antagonist did not.

I thought of Burt and how life is often like a game of poker as I drove off into the mountains that tumble into the Pacific around my little village.  My goal was to escape the heat.  I got much more.

Gaining 1700 feet takes a voyager into a new world.  The rain has turned the mountain road, that eventually leads to Guadalajara, into a green-canopied tunnel.  All in one week.  We live fast here.  More accurately, we grow fast.

The road is old.  At least, to my Oregon eyes.  It was built by the Spanish in the 1500s to transport goods from the Orient to Spain.  With a couple of sea trips sandwiched in there.  Ironically, this is the road that finally fulfilled Columbus's original mission.  But it is a poor second cousin to the more famous silver roads in Mexico.

The mule trains are gone.  But the descendants of the cicadas who sang to the mule skinners still fill the ravines with their Philip Glass serenades performed on a table saw.

The trick to driving in the mountains after heavy rains is to see the outing as a steeplechase.  Where the next corner could offer up a few rocks, a clay-stained landslide blocking part of the road, or a large gap where air now resides in place of the highway material that has traveled out to sea.  The pavement takes on the look of the detritus of childhood on a family room carpet.

And there is always litter of the living (or once-living) kind.  Just outside of town, I spotted a large snake along the side of the road.  Road kill, I guessed.  But the snake was the largest I had seen in Mexico.

So, I turned around.  ever pass up a photo opportunity.

By the time I got back to where I had seen the snake.  It had moved.  But it was not moving very fast.  I suspect it was injured.  Even when I prodded it with my foot, it would not move any faster.

A boa constrictor of some sort, I would guess.  If my niece, she who loves the slithery, had been there, she could have identified it immediately.

Injured or not, it took ten minutes to cross a highway that is well-traveled.  Twice, cars managed to straddle the snake.  But it made it to the other side.

A few miles up the road, I came around a sharp corner to discover three turkey vultures doing their best Gordon Ramsay filet technique on another snake.  Its crossing-the-road tale had a different ending.

Because I never like doing anything twice, I decided to head home on a different route.  One of my favorite driving games is to go somewhere I do not know and randomly pick roads.  Always turning to the right to make retracing steps easy.

That is what I did yesterday.  By chance, I ended up driving through the mining and agricultural village of Tequesquitl
án I visited on my ATV spree last October. 

The road was in worse shape than it was last year on the ATV.  At times, I felt as if I were going to run into Indiana Jones riding out of Petra with the Holy Grail.

But, if I had not chosen the road less traveled by, I would have missed one of the most unusual wildlife encounters of my life.  While driving down one of the sandy gullies, a hawk swooped past with what looked like vines in its talons.

But they weren't vines.  It was one of those oriole nests that usually hang from the end of a branch to keep snakes at bay.

Apparently, the hawk had snatched the entire thing.  Taking his lunch, as we say around here, para llevar.  Take away.

The two oriole parents were in full Amber alert hot pursuit.  But even they must have realized there was no hope to be mined from the circumstances.

Like the dead snake in the road, they had been dealt a pair of deuces, and there were no more cards to be dealt.

Sometimes we are the snake the makes it across the road (even if we are hurt in the process).  Sometimes, we are snacks for vultures.

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