This week was a whirlwind of mustang activity, at least for me, at least in a symbolic albeit sedentary way (sitting on my butt but not on a horse).
On Saturday, October 23, we celebrated the ten-year anniversary of NO ROUNDUPS IN SPRING CREEK BASIN, and the fifty-year anniversary of the unanimous signing of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The celebration took place at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, on the Plaza where mustangs Whisper and Skipper and adopters Tif Rodriguez and Keith Bean showed each other off, and in the Visitor’s Center where TJ Holmes led tours of an incredible photographic exhibit of mustangs from Colorado’s four BLM-managed herds (all exhibit photos are by TJ). In the theater, yours truly read a bit from Desert Chrome: Water, a Woman and Wild Horses in the West, and TJ and I talked about mustangs (big surprise) and the jointly celebrated anniversaries.
On Tuesday, my sister Terry and I drove through redrock country and a snowstorm and along river corridors brushed with fall colors to land in Edwards, Colorado, where The Bookworm of Edwards (https://www.bookwormofedwards.com/) and Ali Teague hosted a reading and signing of Desert Chrome. I read from the chapter “Lunar Red,” the enthusiastic crowd listening intently and asking great questions when a young mother, whose daughter was in attendance, raised her hand. She told us that her daughter was born on the very night about which I’d just read. Later she bought the book, circled the page number, and underlined the words “On a supermoon night in September 2015,” to show her daughter someday, when she’s older than six.
The next day we drove a mountain pass through light snow to Steamboat Springs and Off the Beaten Path (https://www.steamboatbooks.com), another wonderful indie bookstore, for a booksigning event facilitated by Off the Beaten Path’s Hallie Priday. Momentum picked up after the first hour, and a lot of conversations ensued about wild horses, recovery, and writing, but in the first quiet hour I made an important discovery.
Opposite the signing table stood a display of all the Best American … 2021 titles. I picked up Best American Essays 2021 to glance through the list of Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2020, and there among the Ws was my name and the above-mentioned title, “Lunar Red,” first published as an essay by High Desert Journal (https://www.highdesertjournal.org/kathryn-wilder-lunar-red). I think the whole bookstore heard me as I showed the booksellers and manager and my sister and anyone else who happened by. Of course I bought the book!
Friday night, back in Montezuma County, at the Mancos Public Library TJ and I did a joint presentation, talking about mustangs and fertility control and reading from Desert Chrome. More great audience participants, more great conversations, and more great TJ photos as a slideshow of Spring Creek Basin mustangs ran continuously on a large screen.
I am exhausted. And thrilled to have met so many wonderful people, and to learn about “Lunar Red”–both of its recognition and of the young, horse-loving girl who was born that magical night in 2015. Thank you to Suzanne Strazza for coordinating the bookstore events with the sweet and lovely Hallie Priday and Ali Teague, and the library event with Midge Kirk (and I’m sorry you were under the weather, Midge); and to Terry Tobey for riding shotgun; and to all who helped with the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument event; and to TJ, for mustangs.
[For several months I have been unable to do much on this blog because of an old computer; now I am at the bottom of the learning curve with a new laptop. Please forgive my absence and errors.]