Roadrunners can run 20 miles per hour. They are badasses with their ability to catch, kill and eat rattlesnakes. These cuckoos are revered for these traits and also for their endurance; roadrunners mate for life, “renewing their vows” each spring with a series of elaborate courtship steps and calls. Dance with me, baby.
Hopi and Pueblo legend esteems the roadrunner as a spirit animal, one with special powers. When you behold the roadrunner’s X-shaped footprint, it’s hard to tell if it is coming or going. Natives interpret this to mean that evil spirits are thrown off track, thereby giving protection to the tribes against fiends and bogeymen, although they didn’t use the term bogeymen.
N’wait. This is a bird that prefers to run on the ground rather than fly through the air. A magical bird that runs. If that isn’t vitality, I don’t know what is.
Lisa has always wanted to see a roadrunner in the wild. She is not a particularly spiritual person, giving no more than a nod to totems, werewolves or trolls. Or to put it another way, she has this belief that we should take responsibility for ourselves, that no one else is in charge of our lives.
Maybe it’s the runner part of roadrunner that appeals to her. She is, after all, a marathoner, and she runs on roads.
Finally, after two airplane flights, a four-hour drive and a hike of a couple miles, on the banks of the Rio Grande River at the southern rim of Big Bend National Park, a hoot and a holler’s distance from Mexico, dwarfed by the majestic 1500-foot cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon, here he is. Lisa’s roadrunner. After all these years, the magic begins.
Big Bend National Park