At 8:00 on the morning of Sunday, October 16, a wonderful thing happened to me: I made a new friend. I had jogged across the Rio Grande on the Montano bridge with my beagle Ruby in order to watch the Duke City Marathon participants run north on the Paseo del Bosque Trail.
When I finally reached the trail, I saw no runners, but took in the glory of the moment. The cottonwoods in the Aldo Leopold Forest were wearing their magnificent autumn colors that make their Aspen cousins envious; I read a sign that said, "The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land" that was written by Aldo Leopold, considered the Father of Wildlife Conservation and a one time resident of Albuquerque; and most of all, the giant Full Hunters moon was setting over the volcanoes to the west at the exact moment that the sun was rising to the east above the Sandia Mountains.
Just at that moment a guy appeared nearby. "Can you believe this?" I asked him without saying hello.
"The sun rising over the Sandias just as the Full Hunter's moon is setting! Can you imagine how the ancients must have felt at an occurrence like this?"
"Yep. Magical, and not a cloud in the sky and a calm wind, he replied. "But we call it The Harvest Moon where I'm from."
"Where's that?" I asked.
"Nebraska." Then we started chatting after that strange opening when the marathoners started whizzing by, led by the internationally famous Kenyan Solomon Kandie.
We quickly discovered that we had ten things in common. In order of discovery, we are both:
1. Named George
2. Albuquerque West-siders
3. Second Generation American-born Bohenian-Americans
4. In our 60's
5. Dedicated internationalists
6. Retired educators
7. Left-leaning Democrats
10. Mexico City lovers
We had so many commonalities, each of which had ignited fires of shared feelings, experience, and curiosity, that we were keeping track of them as we chatted. We were jumping energetically from topic to topic: from Bohemia to Chihuahua and from the sixties to the nineties in our mere half hour conversation. In the end, we both realized that we were only scratching the surface of topics we would enjoy talking about in the coming years, and we knew that each one of the ten was worth 100 hours of attention - each its own marathon. So we made plans for our next bosque wandering and chat...in two days' time.
Seedpods to carry around about:
David Ryan-- A basic principle of The Gentle Art of Wandering is that when you allow yourself to see, you will keep running into something that you'll want to check out. When you wander, one thing always leads to another.
Ralph Waldo Emerson-- We are reformers in the spring and summer, but in autumn we stand by the old. Reformers in the morning, conservers at night.
Emily Bronte-- Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.
Jesse Owens-- I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.