Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXII - Rancho La Puerta

Origins of the Ranch, Part XXXII

‘Twas brillig…one morning when the Ranch’s history became frabjous joy
By Peter Jensen
(Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky)

[To read more history, see Origins of the Ranch in our History portion of our blog]

On this ’twas brillig morning, the ravens at the river-cliff did truly gyre and gimble in the wabe. Our boots crunched through the granite scree topping the trail, and the towhees were already out in the undercast of the chaparral, calling to each other in a descending series of notes that has often been described by Rancho La Puerta naturalists as “like a ping pong ball rolling downstairs.”

On the five-mile trail that skirts the river, you expect the ravens, for here the river-wind rises up the valley face and bursts into turbulence near your shoulder. Ravens ride this tumbling breeze with joyous skill, folding their wings one moment to drop in crumpled black abandon, then spreading every feather wide, tips playing the piano keys of the invisible current, serenely soaring once again, less than a dozen feet away.

We have even seen them doing somersaults. And in those moments, we thought, “This is the essence of ‘my’ Ranch. I will never forget this.”

The history of a place ties naturally to the milestones left by the women, men, natural forces, and culture that found it, built it, struggled with it, rejoiced in it–all leave their mark. But we often have a more personal relationship with the Ranch’s years-past, because we have returned many times (as have many other guests).

We return because of the “raven moments.” So many.

One El Niño year the shining granite flanks of Mt. Kuchumaa ran with dozens of impromptu streams, some of them leaping into waterfalls. If you looked closely from the knoll above the dining room’s adjacent pond, you could see these silver threads with the naked eye. And yes, they beckoned, so a staff hike leader organized a climb above the farm at Tres Estrellas and on that day we found the place where a “stream” no more than a foot wide ran for a many yards through a crack in a giant boulder. The Zen force of thousands of years of wet and dry were at play again, carving the stone molecule by molecule…and we could see it, sit by it, hear the rock sing that so-rare water song.

What is your personal history of the Ranch? We hope it rests in your memories, your journals, your conversations with your friends. And we trust it waits for you here, patiently, for your return. Many things at Rancho La Puerta change very little, for when Nature is the innkeeper, you can expect your bed to be made just the way you like it, and the paths to lead you again to that place that will always be…brillig.