Hanging out in El Prado, New Mexico, for a spell. I’ve been trekking across the northern part of this state since Saturday, and I’ve gotten my wish for clear skies and strange encounters. Strange in a good way, mind you, an enlightening way.

Two quick lines from the notes that I’ve written on this trip:

“I forgot how wonderful my eyes feel when there’s more than 500 feet of space to gaze across.”

I took Route 14 up from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, stopping frequently along the roadside to wander into the hills a bit or snap photos of long-abandoned ranches. It was an excellent trip, and I really relished how far across open fields and rolling hills one can see. Mountain subranges rise up 50 miles in the distance, silly mountains that have just been sitting there and existing for thousands of years.

Clear skies.

“You can learn something from everybody.”

That’s a quote from a cat named Matthew Nieto. I met him around midnight or so, late Saturday. We all ended up at his house somewhere on the outskirts of Santa Fe. I really couldn’t say where we were. But between him and his friends, Tommy and Fash, I found myself trading thoughts on the meaning of life, on being a man, on the senses of independence and mindfulness that I’ve thought so much about this past year. Nieto wasn’t fucking around. I was warned about his nature before we arrived at his place, though I can’t remember the specifics of what I was told. Point is: He and I met as strangers, went toe-to-toe on some heavy topics over the course of several hours, and came out as allies in the great war against bullshit.

According to my notes, we also talked about “honesty in life above all else” and how to bake the ideal cookie.

Strange encounters.

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