Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sleepless Nights and Rocky Days

Sleepless Nights and Rocky Days
            Three nights ago I couldn’t sleep. Rather than crawl out of bed, slump into a comfy chair and grab a good book, or even a boring book, something conducive to sleepiness, I chose to review every dumb, ignorant and bad decision I’ve made throughout my entire seventy-one years.

            Unlike in the past, now that I’m hopefully wiser, I rarely waste my time in such ways. But that night I simply couldn’t close the door. So I hosted the entire troop, which had been under lock and key for so long that they were delighted to be out of the closet entertaining me.

            I was explaining this to Carol, one of my neighbors, and she responded, “You were able to do all that in only one night!”

            We were cramped in Jim’s cup-o’-truck, a hardy four-wheel drive vehicle, on our way up the mountain to Las Piedras Bolas. My knees were indenting the dash in front of me (I exaggerate slightly) while John’s knees were indenting my back. ‘s truth.

            Comfort wasn’t the goal. We were in search of the experience. Our unspoken agreement amounted to, “whatever it takes”.

            It took bouncing up a terrifying excuse of a road, water washed, stone littered, peering over immense drop-offs, holding our collective breaths when the wheels slewed around. We stopped several times to stretch, to peer out over the track of unmanned zip lines, to walk several meters along a bridge, made of a plank supported by cables. They walked. They swayed. I sat on a stone at “home base”. I justified my squeamishness, “There’s gotta be a witness.”

            Las Piedras Bolas is a geologic mystery, as far as is known, in all the world, found only at the top of this particular volcanic mountain near Ahualulco. Theories vary as to how these gigantic lava balls were formed.

            Whatever the history, the bolas or balls seem magical. Some were small enough for me to drape my body over, hugging them while I marveled. Jim climbed atop one of the larger bolas and stood, arms akimbo. He looked diminished. The smallest I saw was over three feet in diameter.

            The government has set aside a huge area as a park, in order to preserve and protect the bolas as well as the flora and fauna within the park. The park is only about thirty miles from the rancho colonia in which we all live.

            Jim cajoled his truck, through scrub oak and varieties of pine, all the way up to the amphitheater where the lower bolas are found. From there we picked our way further up the mountain. We didn’t go all the way to the top but we spent several hours among the bolas, picnicking, marveling and speculating.

            Imagine a giant standing atop the mountain with a fist-full of marbles of various sizes. He opens his hand and lets the marbles roll down the ravines, only to stop at trees, in a choked gully, or to land in a pile of ash. I like to imagine the giant grinned, said, “This is good. Let them figure it out!”

            When we came down the mountain, late afternoon, we had too much energy to go home. So we stopped at a favorite local restaurant for a leisurely meal. One cannot chip apart and quantify experience. But in one day, I had my arms around rocks known as a rare phenomenon and got to know Jim from Missouri and John and Carol from Michigan, three neighbors who were, up until that day, practically strangers.

            Last night I couldn’t sleep. This time it was caused by honest terror. Tomorrow I go to Guadalajara for cataract surgery. Of course, I know it is rare for anything to go wrong. But I’m a voracious reader. Of course, I’m scared.

            I’ve been accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses by more than one critic. That’s not a bad thing. I’m looking forward to simply seeing the world clearly again. And if there is a rosy tint, I’ve put it there with my own paintbrush.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

January 12, 2017


  1. I hope that your cataract surgery is as amazingly successful as mine was! You will SEE!

  2. Mom had an amazing surgery! She couldn't believe how much she had not seen recently. She can't be on the computer for a while, so asked me to respond.