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We drove to the edge
of Oklahoma,
the end of the panhandle,
to Kenton
and the Black Mesa,
the highest point in the state (4,973 feet.)
After a walk among
the rocks and the flora
of an arid prairie
around the Black Mesa—
formed largely by lava
from the Capulin Volcano,
80 miles to the west—
we headed west
toward that volcano.
The valley there
in Oklahoma (Hwy 325)
and New Mexico (Hwy 356)
is called the Dry Cimmaron Valley.
The road is unpaved
for long stretches
and it was all but washed out
in a few lower places.
Rain.
Rain had come
to the usually dry Dry Cimmaron Valley.
Soon after leaving Kenton,
in mid-afternoon,
we were surprised to see
amazing rock formations:
one giant wedding cake,
another formation of smooth,
rounded at the top, vertical stones,
seemingly with eyes,
standing atop a layer of red stones.
The imaginative among us
named it the Alien Baby rock.
But that was just the beginning.
For 80 miles,
we experienced such exquisite beauty
that we were silenced
except for the frequent,
louder-than-the-last
“Wow!”
Mile after mile,
the vistas were stunning,
as sunlight struck
rock formations
with green slopes.
New green.
The tenderest green.
The Dry Cimmaron Valley
was deliciously green.
We might never see this again.
We had found
Brigadoon.

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(Photos can’t capture this Brigadoon)