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. 


winter in nm

at a certain point we just stopped worrying about how dirty the floor is by the front door. with muddy shoes one day, and then snowy the next. we've decided to deal with it later.

fiery sunsets show up when the skies are clear. and they are just as amazing from outside as inside.

the other night we took a walk just as the skies got dark. with the snow, the light was just dark blue all around. as we walked we heard just the sounds of our boots in the snow, and the river rushing through.

getting over a foot in two days at our house, means the ski valley must have twice that. these are the good days for skiers. and in my blah-ness about more snow falling, I realized that one can't survive winters here without finding ways to have fun in the snow. with a rental of skis & boots, thoughtfully done by D., I was ready for some cross country. and it worked out lovely that we could just do it around home. it was fun. the feeling of gliding through the snow. I get it, I get why people love it. 

my body feels different in mostly good & improved ways. I still have issues with my stomach muscles, which are not as instantly better as I wanted. I feel stronger, but in everything I do I'm worried I'll hurt what has healed. next winter, I'll be amazingly stronger & ready for some actual skiing.

I just took a little walk up to our trail. the snow is deep, over my boots, and slushy at the bottom, making the walk slick and cushiony. everything outside is peacefully layered in healthy moisture. I walked by a cedar and my nose was overwhelmed at the smell. the snow has made the cedars strong.

i'm needing something more than what I have in my days. my job isn't as fulfilling as I need. or my time at home isn't very productive with creative projects. i'm looking for something, and I'm sure warmer days & nights, and the energy of Spring will help me with this. 


lovely snow

the locals (& skiers) around here don't think we've had a good snow year. I'm pretty okay with it. I'm ready for it all to move on to Spring (not that it doesn't snow in Spring). I guess I'm a little over winter.

I have enjoyed the chance to get out my super snow boots. Black & clunky, but warm and solid. They make me feel strong in the snow. 

it stays relatively warm here, for winter temps. which makes winter seem not so long. but I'm ready for more light in the day. 

we planned on this being the winter I got on something other than snowshoes. but so far skis haven't been much of an option. I'm realizing that unless you live here to ski, it is easy for all the other things in life to get in the way. but, it could still happen. if on our next free weekend we have fresh snow.

walks through our snowy pastures have been lovely. I'm not over the loveliness of it all. 

unfortunately the roads quickly turn to mud out here. on my walk today I got stopped at the bend by the river. the snow is easier to walk in than the mud. but I knew the mud would take over. I detoured to walk along the river, noticing what tracks were in the snow. mostly it looked like the rabbits had a busy morning. and the magpies are so light the tracks they leave are like little skis on the snow.


christmas and this last weekend

We went to Kansas over Christmas. We sat at the dinner table with Harris relatives, we had drinks with my Dad & MEK while opening presents, we spent an evening with our many friends in Newton, and then had dinner with them too. We ate cinnamon rolls & then took our Christmas walk around the farm, thankfully without the cold wind we had last year. We attended the Eve service at Alexanderwohl again, and again I got choked up as we sang the hymns. Christmas night was a gathering of our parents, which we are so lucky to be able to bring together. And then we finished the week with D's family. Actually, I spent an entire day in bed with what was a cold for D., but a big attack on my not-up-to-par immune system. Then we drove home. We felt lucky to have had the time to spend in Kansas, and to be able to spend it all together. We also wondered what it would be like to spend Christmas in Taos some time. Oh, the holidays. 

Christmas sort of capped off my post surgery recovery time.  This past weekend we drove up to Wild Rivers again, thinking we'd walk the La Junta trail. I felt very ready to just do it, and just make myself strong again. But the wind on the La Junta was brutal, so we jumped over to Little Arsenic for awhile, and then to the Chiflo. We didn't make it all the way down either of them, because it turned out I wasn't quite ready. But in comparison to our little trip out here six weeks ago, in which we just walked the sidewalks around the overlook of the trail, it was a win. Walking then was still unsteady, and it hurt like god damn hell. Walking this time, just made me feel extremely tired. But it was awesome.

My new appreciation is for the strength and ability I've always had, and never fully realized. Standing tall, walking without fear of falling, moving on. 

Two women I love, who also have the scar I have, though because they were having children not hysterectomies, recommended I gently massage the scar...to help bring the feeling back. I do, lightly, and usually thing about other things. But I will fall into the knowledge, that rather stark fact, which seems to sit outside of me in a darkness, that the scar is where I was opened up. The scar is what's left of something once there. My body has been altered. And it was all entirely a "normal" and routine medical procedure. And when I was preparing myself for the medically routine, normal procedure, I had no idea I needed to prepare so much for the aftermath, full of things that didn't feel routine or normal at all. 

Hopefully it won't be long before we make it out to Wild Rivers again.