Reunion Number Eleven - Poem by Bill Galvin
Silverton, Colorado; elevation 9318 feet; pop 638
The drive up scenic US 550 takes more than an hour;
Still a white knuckler over 10640’ Coal Bank Pass.
I’m staying on the Animas River in Historic Durango.
When I reach Silverton, the source of the river
Passes through this town in the San Juan Mountains.
We loved recalling the first time we came to Silverton;
Back in ’73, when Deb and I were novice wanderers
Exploring as much of the country as $500 would allow,
Before lack of funds would drive us home
To find new homes and new jobs.
We had $5 still in pocket, after 5 weeks of travels.
Our goal was to camp in the one campground here.
Timing was poor, and we arrived after dark;
The town’s one access road led us to a closed camp.
Everything in town shut down at 9 PM!
We drive to the other end the town where
A dirt road leads us to a bluff overlooking the village.
We were an hour either way to a population,
But not many drove precipitous US 550
With no guard rails after dark.
Plus, we were tired. Young and inexperienced,
We drive too far at wrong times, to the wrong places.
Anyway, pushing seats way back in a ’72 Corolla
Doesn’t help a six footer relax. I don’t think I slept.
Cold; hungry; night sky alit with stars; then…
About 2 AM, a thunder shatters the stillness…
Fear and surprise made every living thing startle,
As four unfenced and unfettered mustangs
Running free in this mountain-locked valley,
Stop short their nighttime ramble, kicking up stones.
They face us, insulted, snouts to windshield,
Musing why anyone besides them would be up here.
All take deep breaths, and see no danger,
“Hello, we say” thrilled at the encounter.
“Harrumph”, they snort, and trot snobbishly by us,
Resuming their gallop a few feet away downhill.
One of our greatest stories of that traveling era.
And I return here now to bring some of Deb with me;
And recall that first trip, nascent of our travels to come;
Of our becoming Traveling Companions for life.
I place a pinch of her locks upstream from town,
Near the source; to travel down to Durango
Where this same river flows by my window tonight;
Then past Aztec Ruins; joining San Juan River;
Through Navajo Nation; to Lake Powell,
The Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts, ”
Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations.
Your soul brightened the world of everyone you met, My Love.
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