A change of scenery in Durango
Winter, spring, summer or fall, when Jana and I leave Bluff for a daytrip we typically go to Durango, CO.
That is often, but not exclusively, because we can find good chow for Pearl and Opal, collectively known as The Gems, at Creature Comforts Pet Shop on the south side of town.
Although The Gems are rescues from the Navajo Reservation, they have decided only gourmet pet food is for them. I think they have forgotten their roots. Or, as country music folks might say, “They have gotten above their raisin’.”
At the base of the San Juan Mountains, we stop at the Absolute Bakery Company (the ABC) in Mancos.
The ABC serves fabulous breakfast and lunch dishes in a funky, comfortably rundown setting.
They also have a gallery of work by local folk artist Dave Sipe. If you have not experienced Dave and his vast array of crazy carvings, you have missed one of Southwest Colorado’s most enduring and entertaining treasures.
Fastened to the outside walls of the trading post and cafe, and scattered across the Twin Rocks porches, are representative samples of Dave’s work.
As you stroll the veranda, you can find, to name just a few: Yertle the Turtle King, The Mormon Cohab, Bare-Hug Bear and the Patriotic Buzzard.
It is not necessarily the art, however, that keeps us going back. Dave is a wild-haired, white-bearded, 70-something genius who looks like he should be on a mountain in Tibet or in a cave at Mount Carmel.
Nothing beats discussing current affairs and art with Dave.
Once we arrive in Durango, there is great coffee at Durango Joe’s and an amazing selection of texts at Maria’s Bookshop, a traditional bookstore Jana and I cannot stop going back to.
Combine all that with clear mountain air, and you have the makings of a memorable trip out of the high desert landscape of Bluff.
To be fair, residents of Durango come to Bluff for a change of scenery, too, so we have a sister city relationship and a thriving cultural exchange program.
Durango-tanges need to warm up, and Bluff-oons need to cool off, so it is a match made in Heaven.
When we are in Durango, Jana never misses an opportunity to visit the ReLove consignment store to see what is on display. It helps that the staff is welcoming and has treats for the Gems.
The last time we were there, I stumbled across a copy of the Gabrial Garcia Marquez biography entitled, “A Life.”
Since reading his best-known novels, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera,” over 35 years ago, the books have remained at the top of my personal favorites list.
While I cannot claim to comprehend Garcia Marques’ magic realism style of writing, I find the confusion and mysticism in my day-to-day experience
It is surely my fascination with magic realism, which combines realistic narratives with fantasy, which makes life at the trading post navigable.
If you are expecting the unexpected at Twin Rocks, you will surely find it. Forget the mundane, because, as Priscilla will attest, normal is never our experience.
Years ago, I saw an interview with Rob Reiner, who starred in the television sitcom “All in the Family.”
In that conversation, Rob described his experience with happiness by saying he had experienced approximately 30 minutes of bliss during his life.
He went on to explain that it had not all come at once but was actually broken up into small segments of 15 to 30 seconds each.
Taken all together, Reiner’s total happiness added up to about a half hour, not much for a middle-aged man.
That, however, is similar to our experience at the trading post; while normal does happen, it is all too infrequent and universally short-lived.
In the introduction to the Garcia Marquez biography, he says, “Life is not what one lived, but what One remembers...”
Years from now when we think of our lives at Twin Rocks Trading Post, it will likely remind us of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, wildly unusual, mostly incomprehensible and strangely enjoyable.