21 12 2009

If anything, tonight James Cameron taught me to see.

Here I am less than an hour removed from watching the director’s latest cinema masterpiece and I am propelled to write.

Now where did we leave off.

Ah yes, the next leg of the trip was Amarillo to Durango through the heart of New Mexico.

Jim was making great time as usual. We sped through Albuquerque, gased up on the city’s outskirts and stopped for lunch at a diner about an hour northwest in a tiny truck stop called Cuba.

I had a cheeseburger and Jim ordered eggs and sausage. The natives were friendly and I began to notice the blending of cultures. We were not in Dallas anymore. Our white skin made us the minority here.

Jim had planned for a small detour on our way to Durango — Chaco Culture National Historic Park — and it was well off the beaten path.

Jim was determined to see the ruins. Leaving pavement behind, the car rattled and the shocks were put to the test as we motored into Chaco country.

Since he had attained “Golden” status, admission to the park was free for Jim. Perks of senior citizenship in the US of A. Generously, he paid for my entry.

“I’ll get a picture of you in front of the ruins,” Jim said. “We can call it ‘Ruined.'”

This was a surprisingly remark, one that hit it’s target, however playfully intended. Did he really think I was ‘ruined,’ I wondered. Better yet, was he right?

In the past, I had always had some element of control on my adventures. Always had the means to make it alone — on the mean streets of New York, London’s Underground or the hedonism of West Hollywood.

When I was riding high career-wise, I could even manage to bring along a friend or lover. It wasn’t too long ago, Warren and I had traveled to Chicago, in part so I could attend the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Covention.

Yes, in 2005, I was a panel speaker at the convention. Four years later, I was ‘ruined’ riding along with Jim.

We took some pictures in the park. It was cold and the wind a tad unforgiving. We listened briefly to the ranger give a guided tour and hopped back in the Murano. Jim was ready to get to Durango and he didn’t want to have to drive through a snowstorm to get there.

The temperature was indeed dropping as we climbed in elevation. My ears began to pop. Amazingly, the I-phone rarely lost service. But, just when I thought I had the gadget figured out, Jim would call my attention to the landscape and, nine times out of 10, it was awe-inspiring.

Durango was a tourist town, nestled in the southwestern Colorado rockies. We were arriving during off-season, most of the families had long returned to the rat race. It was just the way Jim liked it.

And he had a point. As precious as children can be, sometimes it can be more work than vacation.

And we were on vacation….rising from the Ruins.