308. Mora, Mora County (NM08)

The photographs aren’t quite as good when the sun conspires against you, no? For a little bit I thought I was going to disappoint you further. I wasn’t entirely sure that the county had an actual courthouse. It’s an unincorporated community, so who knows? That said, I’m pretty sure that the county complex here more than qualifies for our purposes so we get our courthouse. But what about our cache?

There’s always a cemetery. Sure, it’s small and not terribly ornate, but…

…man, what a view. I don’t believe that souls stay around the places they’re buried, but if they do, I can think of a lot worse places to look at for eternity. A lot of places don’t exactly stay with me as I fly through them, but there’s something about this spot. It’s almost like I can imagine the cinematographer on a dolly filming me from a slight distance, walking from the car to the cache and vice versa.

Coming for something so tiny in a country so grand, so lonely, desolate and green, teeming with life in the shadow of death. Or something like that. I took a minute to watch the sun cast shadows across the hills and to breathe in the mountain air. I’ll probably never be back through here again and I’m a little sad for that, but if I ever do, I’m dragging a photographer with me because I can never do this place justice. But then again, I can’t take a picture of this because it’s already gone. So I got in the car and left this tiny, sad, splendid little place.

I drove up into the mountains, switching back on hairpin curves. There was even a rainbow over the valley as I drove away. And it got darker. The sun wasn’t going down yet. The mountainsides were blocking it out. And the same clouds and moisture that made the rainbow now made the rain. Driving on mountain roads is fun. Driving on mountain roads in the rain and the dark is terrifying. I’m not claustrophobic, but the mountainsides made me feel hemmed in and tight. The rain slick roads made me feel I could slide at any time, especially knowing what a little slickness could do. But what choice did I have? For all of Mora’s beauty, there was nothing truly behind to go back to. So I pushed ahead. I clenched my teeth. I hoped to make it out.

And the rain stopped…

And the clouds dissipated…

And the sun returned.

I came through the pass and saw another rainbow, this one shining over the valley on the other side of these mountains, a valley that contained…

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