by Jon Lovekin
The Red Sox won the world series in 2004. This was an historic event and especially significant for long suffering Boston baseball fans. Meanwhile, within the southwest plains of Colorado other significant events were about to occur as well. Tonight was a full lunar eclipse, a spectacular sight anywhere but this night was going to be special. The excitement was building while driving to the Commanche National Grasslands south of La Junta, Colorado. The view port from there was going to be wonderful and all the camera gear was stashed in the truck. The light haze of front range cities is visible to the north but is greatly diminished under the vast, clear portal that exists on these high plains.
The gap gate off the county road was barely discernible within the fence line. No road was visible beyond it. Careful study of maps indicated that an access road into the national grasslands existed along the other fence perpendicular to the gate. The early summer winds had buried that fence and whatever road lay beside it under four feet of tumble weeds. There was no other access through the cactus and rock outcrops at this point. Taking a deep breath, and gearing down, the truck munched its way through the debris. There wasn't going to be a crowd out here!
The night was absolutely clear and calm. The full moon appeared and rose quickly illuminating the grasslands increasingly in soft light. The camera was set on the tripod in anticipation of the eclipse which wouldn't occur for several hours. To pass the time the truck radio was on, picking up the game. The only station that came in was out of St. Louis whose team the Red Sox would beat that night to win the series.
There was no wind. The radio crackled with the game as I settled into my chair. The only other sound was a slight scratching noise that seemed to come and go. Looking about I started as a Tarantula came up to the tripod, paused and continued on his way. I got up and looked around and it became evident that the sound was made by Tarantulas and that there was more than one out here. They were marching in great numbers through the grass. They were spread far apart and came by the camp sparingly but they were constantly there none the less. It was the annual mating migration of the male tarantula in search of potential mates. Laughter filled my heart at the thought of this scene. Miles from nowhere, waiting for an imminent total eclipse while listening to the World Series I was not alone but accompanied by my new found desert friends.
Jon Lovekin's interests: Geological Engineer, Photographer, Telemark Skier, 29er Mountain Biker, Writer, Oh, and FJ40 Landcruiser driver!