The Bosque (a Spanish word for Woodlands) is the forested area on either side of rivers and streams in the American Southwest, particularly the Rio Grande. In Albuquerque the entire shoreline of the river is a protected state park, and one of my favorite places to be.

In the bosque the cottonwood trees grow tall and tangled, and the coyote willows march in towering waves that blot out the surrounding city, and do their best to soak up the jangle of sound from the cars and crowds. If the spring rains have been good, you can walk a few hundred feet into the bosque and pretend you’re all by yourself. An occasional cyclist or jogger, intent on their time trials, may shuffle by now and then along the rutted, twisting pathways, but they disappear quickly without a word, and you are left to search for you know not what in the scraggly forest.

Sometimes you come across a marker, or a rain gauge, that rise like inexplicable little obelisks from the ground, seemingly purposeless, leaving you to ponder their meaning. If you push through the occasional tunnels in the dense growth along the banks the river greets you through little openings. There is surprisingly little trash in the bosque but you often find it here; beer bottles and cans left by dazed kids and junkies. But you can pick them up and take them back out if you're conscientious, and the veneer of mystery and oddness settles back in place.

Creepyhouse stands on a great cliff overlooking the sheltered sea. A river flows through a mighty gorge near the house into the bay, and its banks look like this.