“Voices of the Bosque” will feature voices of our community. It is a place where we can share what the Bosque means to us, why we are grateful to have this natural place as part of our city, why we come here to walk or pedal along, to witness the changing seasons, to observe the birds and other wildlife, to enjoy the solace and peace and beauty of nature, and why we want this area to be preserved and protected.
If you'd like to contribute an essay, a poem, or other relevant ramblings (250-1000 words), please send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Voices of the Bosque.” Photos and artwork are also welcome.
OUT ON A LIMB
by Alex Limkin
A few days ago I was in the Bosque with my friend, just south of the area dedicated to Aldo Leopold.
We were in the middle of a stand of cottonwoods looking up at three porcupines spread out above us. One was high up on a skinny limb which seemed more of a twig than a branch. It looked risky.
“That’s remarkable,” I said.
My friend said it was not uncommon for porcupines to suffer falls and fractures. “After all, they’re often fast asleep in those high places.”
“Imagine that,” I said. “Imagine the surprise of falling from a height like that.”
We both stared skyward. The porcupines were completely motionless. It was like staring at a painting. The branches soared out above us, appearing like capillaries against the backdrop of the grey sky.
“Imagine taking a nap under a cottonwood and having a porcupine drop out of the sky and knock you awake, then go trundling off, leaving five quills in your chest.”
My friend went on to tell me some more interesting things about the porcupine, that they can live nearly 20 years, that they are solitary but sometimes live in small groups, just like the three above us.
“But how can you be sure these three are part of a family? They’re pretty spread out,” I said.
“I’m not sure. But I’ve been seeing these three in this area for a while now, mostly within a couple trees of each other, but always in the same area. It’s my best guess.”
We remained looking skyward, observing the porcupines fast asleep.
“In any event, it’s nice to think they’re all a family,” I said.
“So true,” my friend said.
Sometimes I think that we, the Rio Grande Bosque community, are something like a family of porcupines. It is not always clear that we are together. We are often up on different branches of different trees. But this past year, in which the Rio Grande Bosque Facebook page has grown to over 4,000 supporters, and community events have turned out hundreds of people, and the Bosque Action Team has organized and worked together to make this website happen, assures me that we are capable of coming together for a common cause.
The Bosque. Keep it natural. Keep it vibrant. Keep it real.
Where porcupine families can be spotted high above in the cottonwoods, holding on tight to slender branches, even as they sleep.
Most mornings Alex can be found walking the tranquil sandy trails of the Bosque with his son and dog. This ritual provides him much peace and solace. When he found out about the mayor's plan to develop the Bosque he felt compelled to get involved to protect its natural beauty.
Amongst his many actions, Alex wrote Mayor Berry vs. The Bosque (reprinted in our blog section), started the Rio Grand Bosque Facebook page, and launched an online petition to keep the Bosque natural.
Alex is an accomplished writer who has been a regular contributor to the New Mexico Compass and The Alibi. He is also developing a backcountry assistance and recovery group for at-risk veterans called DVR-6 and he blogs at warriorswithwesthusing.org.