"We're going to get soaked," she said.
We stopped along the way and talked with a woman working hard at gardening. Gardening takes on a different meaning here. There may be no other place quite like it. The soil is porous desert sand. What grows is a mix of cactus plus anything you can put on it, water and fertilize, that can take sun. It is both sparse and lush at the same time. Below the ground hot water flows and sometimes bubbles to the surface.
|Becky—with the sky still light beside the Rio Grande|
An evidence, walk along Broadway and you will see not only pools of standing water but filled sandbags at almost every door—just in case—to keep galloping waters at bay.
Then there is the river. The lazy Rio Grande borders the south side of town, flowing from Elephant Butte lake, adding its own humidity to the air.
As we walk the lightning strikes come more quickly. They ring the town, dancing on the hills like skinny, blue aliens— here for a moment and gone. Mixed with the smell of lightning and rain, the faint scent of wood smoke—perhaps from a distant fire from a lightning strike.
As we walk the rain picks up—droplets at first and then heavier blobs.
|Jan—our hostess in the rain|
"Our chance to be going," says my friend Becky
We walk back in darkness.
"I thought we were going to get soaked," I say. I almost sense a smile in the dark.
Back at the house we change to bathing suits and walk to The Riverbend, one of a half a dozen or so resorts that tap the hot water just below ground and pipe it to the surface and into large bathing tubs. For almost 100 years visitors have been coming here to take these hot mineral baths. Before that the first settlers, the Spanish and the Indians. Taking the waters is called soaking,
That's what we did. Sat in a tub for almost an hour watching the lightning prance in an inkberry sky and hearing the rain dance around us.
We got soaked.