remembering this space

When I drove  to work this morning my view was of the dark, cloudy mountains with newly snowy peaks. It was lovely, but it tells us that winter is coming. Then it began to rain, and has just rained & rained all day. I got an email from a friend last week and she was reminding me that some people do pay attention to this blog, and were wondering where I was. 
I think that my work day drains me a little bit, and so I lose touch with this form of expression, and I think posting photos on instagram, expressing thoughts on Facebook, having also been distractions.

Today I came home to a dark house shrouded in heavy rain, expecting it to be cold. But I found that D. had started our first fire of the season, & our little house cozy in the wet.

At the end of the summer we drove up North, and visiting some mountaintop old mining cabins up on what is called Midnight Meadows. Up high, in the deep meadows, far from people and walking in wide meadows. It was beautiful and serene, and reminded you of what quiet is. 

We traveled home to Kansas for our annual trip to Winfield. And we had a long, relaxing time, with a lot of laughing,  many Wisconsin-style Brandy Old-Fashioneds, and time with our family & friends. The kids showed us they are all old enough not to need us much, they had afternoons of imagination and kite-flying. And since a lot of us brought our bikes, we were able to ride around together. Oh, and tick bites. Many of us also got bitten by ticks, which was new for the Winfield experience. 

This past weekend, in effort to tire out the puppy and get a little nature time before the cold sets in, we took a hike up Manzanita trail. We were discussing how much stronger I am than I used to be, and how much better I feel than in the months after my surgery. We had gotten up a couple miles, and then I slipped in a creek, and water gushed in over my shoes. And it was time to turn around. The aspen trees are turning yellow, the oak trees are turning golden and soon they will all fall to the ground. But Fall smells so lovely here. The pinon burning, the aroma of leaves as they crunch underfoot, the damp air settles into the pine & cedar trees. 

D. has a new best friend with Sasha. She can hike up a mountain for miles without being tired, and the whole time be simply joyful as she runs & sniffs & explores & splashes in the cold streams. 


with July past and the monsoons visiting

It seems to us like we've seen quite a few double rainbows this summer, from Kansas to NM. And then this one happened, only a single, but in a full arc over the sky...from the mountains to the mesa, against the cloudy sky over our adobe. It was so bright it didn't seem quite real...

A lot of my feeling fortunate moments are around my garden. This morning I was in the garden cutting handfuls of thyme, in order to dry them for the winter. The aroma of the cut thyme, and the sage (a bush of sage with flower stalks coming up to my waist) which sits next to the thyme, along with the smell of the wet rained upon dirt...and I felt lucky to have such perfume in my life. Then cutting my bouquet of flowers, which I could do each day if I wanted...thank goodness for land and gardens. 

The flower bed just outside our house is now in its second year. I knew when I first planted it, that it would mean I could see blooming flowers from the living room couch, and that it would make me smile. I was right, of course.

Now into August, the warm sunny mornings turn into cloudy afternoons, with monsoon rains sweeping through and drenching the forests and desert. The smell of wet pine, sage & chamisa fill the air. 

Having injured my foot a few weeks ago (no more hopping over the acequia in flip flops for me) I'm still limping and having some pain. (One of the ladies I work with saw me on crutches and said, oh you hurt your pata! -- I love learning spanish words from hearing them used rather than reading them in a textbook -- if only I could go back to college and have this understanding--"pata" by the way really means "paw" it is just used as an cute nickname for foot)  So walks have been on hold, as well as any late summer hikes. It is a too bad way to spend the end of summer. But I have to remind myself it is better than how I was feeling this time last year.


high desert garden on August 1


Garden update: Here in the high desert the tomatoes are still green, but have happy marigold bushes. Have been picking cukes, green beans & peas and have been making pesto to freeze. We had a few weeks of hot days, but monsoon season is officially here, which brings heavy afternoon rains & cooler temps...this is when I have to practice some patience with NM, patience for red tomatoes. 
The cosmos are spreading lots of happy pinks though...and look lovely from our living room window. 


july 3

Our fortune of not having a heating bill is not free. But we mostly enjoy the tiring work involved in cutting wood for burning...and I've seen some of the prettiest spots thanks to our wood "hunts". We recently drove up past little Tres Piedras, turned onto a mountain road, and kept driving up. We were acting on a tip from a friend, knowing a crew had been up there cutting trees for fire prevention. 

In less than two hours we were loaded up with Aspen and Fir. All wood that will sit in our shed and cure until it is ready, this load we will likely burn next Spring. 

The forest we were in was just tall graceful white Aspens and the orange/brown Ponderosas. High into the sky, a roof of leaves. Sasha ran around and discovered all kinds of things. And other than the occasional sound of another person's chainsaw miles away, so quietly away from people and things.

Since we were up in the area, we took the highway over to the Brazos. Cliffs and high meadows, everything green from this bounty of Spring rain. Eventually we turned onto the last dirt road before the "leaving Carson National Forest" sign, and bounced our way up until we found a good picnic view. A picnic in a mountain meadow on a warm, Saturday afternoon is a very peaceful way to be.

Estan floreando las chollas. The chollas are blooming. The hot pink seeming especially bright this year. Our usual "backyard" walk is quite colorful right now. Sasha is good about avoiding the cactus thorns, having only occasional issues. 

Our garden is growing slowly and very green. Slow gardening and small plants will just be the way it is here. I think I've resigned myself to it. And I'm quite fine too. My salads are still full of freshly picked lettuce, spinach, basil, thyme & dill. They just don't have freshly picked tomatoes & cucumbers in them yet. Overall, having a garden, even a challenged NM one, makes me feel happy & lucky. 


june 16

sun setting reflection on our mountains.


little church in las trampas and a rainbow after a storm

A little while ago we made a list of things to-do, to-see. Some of them are day trips, some of them are at least four days.

One was to drive down to Santa Fe, and visit the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. So we had a Saturday free, and it was too cold outside to be outside, so we took the High Road to Santa Fe. One the way we stopped to see the church at Las Trampas. San Jose de la Gracia was being finished by the Spanish just as the Declaration of Independence was being signed by the Americans. No pictures are allowed on the inside, which I think preserves the magic of it. The inside was painted by the early parishioners...what we consider now, folk art. We were only able to get inside because the lady living across the street was nice enough to get the key from someone else, and let us in. I felt very thankful, and like a little bit of grace had been bestowed upon us.

Having long admired Georgia, since my younger days due to my mother's own love, it was time I visited the museum. The paintings were of course gorgeous, but the photo exhibit was beautiful. When I think about why I live here now, I remember how Georgia loved it so. Also, she looked awesome in a black, flat-brimmed, spanish-style hat, and so now I think I need to find myself one.

Sometimes Spring brings new things. For us, it is Sasha. Sweet little Sasha'ita came to us at about 8 weeks old, but we had been visiting her since she was born. D. has finally completed his family picture with a dog. She joins us on our walks. She calmly watches us about the house. And she loves napping. And Libby the cat has tolerated quite well.

New Mexico stays too cold too long for this girl of Kansas. About mid-May I was having a hard time with the still freezing nights and occasionally flurry of snow. But despite my irritation, I could still see the wonder of the scenery around me.

We went to Kansas I got to see the iris & peonies blooming, the wheat fields tall and still green, and we got to see some of the more important people in our life. 
We returned to Kansas with warmer days in New Mexico. and now the snow piles on top of the peaks seem smaller, and our friends are no longer talking about skiing. 

Our garden here too is growing. All the things are planted. slowly the weeds are also pulled. cilantro, morning glories and cosmos easily re-seed themselves, and could be the entire garden if I let them. What has given me little joyful moments are the marigolds also re-seeding themselves. 

Last week a woman I know was killed. Her brother having been a friend of mine since teenage years. Her death has shocked her community, but her community has responded by finding ways to celebrate her. The sadness has stayed with me. and the distance which prevents me from seeing the people she & I had in common, seems to make the sadness deeper. 

And when this past weekend we took a walk to see a waterfall, and then later after a sweeping storm saw a rainbow, I thought of her, and of my friends in Kansas, and of the temporary nature of all of us. The waterfall and the rainbow are both things we know we will see, but only briefly, and only after a storm or when the snow melts. they are beautiful, and they will exist, but they are not  constant. 

Saturday we drove up to Lama to visit a friend who has built himself an amazing and tiny cabin, perched up on the mountains, with a view of what looks like the entire world of peaks and valleys. We ate sitting outside & listened to the wind pick up, watching the sun set over the mountains. Eventually we stood by a fire. escaping only once to shelter during a brief downpour, one that was followed by amazing rainbows. 


when we get outside to see the river & the rock

One afternoon we drove a little south and walked the Vista Verde trail. We were looking to walk someplace not-snowy. Not far from a popular local's fishing spot, the canyon trail runs fairly flat, with wide vista views. Eventually the trail ends at an overlook to the Rio Grande. We ran into a few groups of bighorn sheep, who nimbly run along the rocky cliffs. They took a few looks at us, even crossed our path a few times with horns held high, but mostly were more concerned with eating. 

Evidence that this trail is centuries old is the petroglyphs along the trail, in varying stages of age. The darker the marking, the more it could be 1,000 years old. We found one rock just covered in different variations of circle symbols. When the Spanish arrived and began to also walk these trails, they felt compelled to leave a cross as their symbol...symbolically altering the messages they didn't understand with one which they did.

A weekend or two ago, we drove west to Tres Piedras, an old mining/ranching community which gets its name from the jutted outcroppings of smooth granite formations. The formations sit surrounded by a forest of Ponderosas.  After beginning our walk, I was right away finding too many rocks to put in my pockets. The granite is banded by pink quartz. I kept finding the clearest, pinkest, glittering pieces of it. I also found many pieces of black obisdian, which would have been used by toolmakers back in the ancient days. I now have a bowl of shining black & pink on our coffee table.

We climbed/walked all over the massive rocks. Stopping for a lunch with a view to the East, of the Taos Plateau, and the peaks & the foothills which we live within.

With Spring has come fewer fires to build, sort of because it is warmer, but mostly because we've both tired of the constant ritual. The acequia is running full force, the snow pack this year being so good. Though almost all year we can hear the river rushing by, it is hundreds of yards away. Now with the sound just outside our window too, we are constantly reminded of the force of water in our lives, and in this valley. 

I've transplanted some onions & garlic. And started seeds in the greenhouse. In just a week or two we will be bringing home a puppy, which we are doing our best to prepare for. If only I could prepare Libby, but she lives in cat-ignorance. 

Spring gets us a little restless. D. thinks he should be outside for as long as the sun is up, and I think about how much there is to do and how little free time I have to do much at all.  This morning we realized we'd been sharing a coffee cup for the past few mornings, without realizing it. I kept wondering how my coffee was always so freshly hot, and he must have wondered why he kept needing to fill it.