I’ve been in Pagosa Springs for a few weeks now and had a chance to sample the local restaurants, coffee shops and brew pubs (thumbs up to Higher Grounds coffee, Riff Raff Brewery and The BackRoom wine bar). I’ve also had the pleasure of chatting with the locals, and at times I feel like I’m in a lost episode of Twin Peaks (if you were born after 1980, Netflix or Hulu it. You won’t be disappointed). It’s hard to ignore the parallels: small mountain town, dark brooding woods, big logging trucks, and strange goings-on that can’t be explained by logic or science.
(Cue the eerily beautiful Twin Peaks theme)
- The cabin, July 13: Shortly after arriving, I’m caught in a fierce hail storm. According to Ute legend, hail is actually hurled by the spirits of the dead, angered whenever someone drives a Kia into their tribal lands (I think I read that somewhere). Then I hear a pack of coyotes howling nearby. This is actually (again, according to the Utes) an omen that some weird shit is about to happen. The unusual concentration and ferocity of the electrical storms later makes the front page of the local paper.
- The Laundromat, July 22: I do my laundry under the watchful eye of a cowboy in full hat-boots-spurs regalia, who finishes his own laundry, folds and stacks it, then carries it to his truck without a laundry basket. What I didn’t mention in my earlier post is that two nights before, I had a bizarre dream in which a dancing midget spoke cryptically of this exact occurrence: The cowboy will bring in the Tide.
- The bar at Riff Raff, July 24: A curly-haired high school teacher with a white beard (a dead ringer for Dr. Jacoby, he just needed those crazy red-and-blue tinted glasses) launches into an extended riff about his frequent jaunts to Peru. “No reason… I just go! You have to see (unpronounceable place in Peru), it will blow your mind!”
- The Back Room, July 28: I sit at the bar to order an artisan pizza with smoked lamb, goat cheese, red onion and cilantro and discover the bartender/server’s name is Lima. Yes, as in the capital of Peru. She has a single long braid that swings nearly to her thighs and she tells me about her other job at the new sushi place in town and how her daughter loves sushi. Then, randomly: “We were fishing and my daughter caught a fish and said ‘Can I eat the eye? I will, you know,’ and then she popped out the fish’s eye and ate it!”
- At that exact moment, I remembered that when I went to buy groceries a few days earlier, I was looking at their locally-caught mountain trout (at $3.25 each, a real bargain) and noticed that one of the fish was missing an eye…
Yeah, I know. It’s too eerie to be coincidence. And other than the dream and a possible mangling of Native American mythology, all of it really happened. I’m now convinced that David Lynch came up with the idea for Twin Peaks after spending a week in a town like Pagosa Springs and saying to himself: All we need to do is turn the weird knob up a few notches… TV gold!
And TV gold it was. I’ve been re-watching the whole series in the evenings (my friend Jerry loaned me his Definitive Gold Box Collection). Which has nothing to do with all of these unexplainable-but-somehow-connected events that have occurred since my arrival in Pagosa Springs.
I checked the local phone book. Forty-three Palmers. At least one or two must be related to Laura, right? (again for those born after 1980: the series begins with the discovery of the plastic-wrapped body of local Miss Popularity Laura Palmer, whose murder brings a quirky FBI agent, who slowly unravels the town’s deep, weird secrets while narrating everything to “Diane” back at headquarters via a tape recorder).
I went back to the store to look for the mysterious one-eyed trout. It was gone.
So I went ahead and got another trout because at $3.25 each you really can’t go wrong.
I cooked it on the grill that night. I must tell you, it was pret-ty fishy.