Seven pm the golf course closes, though now it has a lot of rules and to stay open, people have to follow them. No carts other than personal carts. People have to sign in. People have to wear masks. Only a certain number of people are allowed on the (9 hole) course at a time, and they must leave by 7:00.
I know this virus is a terrible thing and a pain in the butt for people eager to return to their normal lives, but like the mountain goats in Spain, the mountain lions in Boulder, the elk, well, everywhere, Bear and I are jazzed to have the people under control for once..
We went for our first evening ramble of the summer once it got cool. To me this is MORE than a golf course. It’s a haven. It’s where I learned to walk again after moving here and again after my hip surgery. It’s where Dusty T. Dog learned to actually BE free and trust people.
It’s where I got to know this world when I first moved here six years ago. It’s where I met Mr. Martinez and heard his sad story, then watched him make friends with Dusty T. Dog and tell me I could walk on his private road. It’s where Fred (the other golf course walker and voluble, hilarious Italian) and I stood in knee deep snow discussing whether Mr. Martinez should trap the beavers in his ditch. “Big as bears!!!!” said Fred. “I saw one, good god!”
And then, last year, one late summer evening, a guy taking care of the golf course, out mowing the driving range (pasture) said, “I made you a hiking trail there by the pond, and I set up a hammock, too, down at that end.”
It’s where I was followed by a small herd of mule deer. It’s where I saw the fox in the mist. I’ve enjoyed the flights of bald eagles, golden eagles, red tail hawks. The dogs have been captivated by the smells of nocturnal mammals as I’ve tracked their foot prints and been a little surprised by bear scat. I’ve read the tragedy in the broken form of a fox-downed red-tail. I’ve watched the sudden uprush of hundreds of geese and listened to the sweet, soothing sound of a thousand cranes. And then there’s “my” horse and the kids who live across the street from the 8th hole.
It’s where I discovered I can still X-country ski.
The golf course has been there for nearly 100 years as all of this — not to mention golf — has transpired across it, year after year after year. A golf course that has — among its written rules, “No livestock” and “Clean up after your dogs.” Seriously, how many golf courses have rules like that? ❤
The golf course (which backs onto The Big Empty) was my primer to the San Luis Valley. Just a golf course in a little town, but to me and Bear? It’s the natural world, and it’s only a block from my house. Not black and white, and not abstract, but if you think about it, nature’s performance art happens in time.
And seriously, isn’t it beautiful? I know it’s not the Tetons or the Eiger or something, but still.