Sunday at 7,500 Feet

Mountains north of Taos in fall color

Changing scrub oak thickets light up burned over mountain

For the last nineteen years, I’ve lived within 30 miles of scenes like this. Could have been doing something else, I guess, but hey. To me this kind of space and clarity comes close to peak existence. It ruins you for ever moving to a city, though. We ate our sandwiches at a pristine picnic table looking out at a 90-mile view and there was no one else around. Yes, I say that a lot. But I mean no one. Not another person or car. There wasn’t even a single fly. Air temperature around 75°F, very dry, no wind. Silence. It’s just completely stupefying. I never want to leave. It’s like the landscape of my soul. You want to watch people who say things like that, of course. They end up sucked into the void like moths in a tornado.

My wife is suntanned now and probably doesn’t know it. I see it in her, though, a touch of golden color on her face and arms. But the lady ain’t no moth. Followed me like birds migrating, joy and purpose all the way.

Burning Juan

Burning Juan post image

There’s too much going on and moving much too fast. I’ve written this post at least six times. Each version was completely different and obsolete by dawn.


Early morning sun

Early morning sun lights up the California smoke across the valley

This morning after visiting the bathroom, my wife crawled back into bed around 5:30 a.m., pulled the covers up to her chin, and said, “This is the end.” (Driving by those houses yesterday had something to do with this, the way it always does.) I put my arm around her, held her close, and felt no fear for once. This is the end, I thought, although of what, I wasn’t sure.

Going to Santa Fe on my birthday to haul my Twin Reverb in to be repaired was like that. It was fun to drive the truck, for one thing, and I wanted to. With plenty of power, the Dakota squirts ahead whenever I stab the gas. The ride is smooth and stable, the speedometer dead on. Down the road, the guy at the guitar store treated me like a mensch. We had fish and chips for lunch outdoors and felt a breath of normal in the air. I wasn’t worried about money, finding a place to live, or cataloging my old sins, as if the act of doing something that was so important to me personally and artistically after all these years had let the goodness flow again.

One for the Money

adobe compound

Just do it

This year my birthday adds up to one. (How appropriate, especially if you know the lyrics.*) It was a stressful birthday eve but I am straightened out. Be that as it may, my original plan for today was to drive north to Costilla, Amalia, and the Valle Vidal in my snorting V-8 Dodge. But on a trip to town I noticed how smoky and sad the mountains were. There’s also the immediate case of possible abduction, murder, and bad hygiene in a “compound” full of crazies near Amalia itself, and there must be troopers everywhere. I saw five black-and-whites heading north in a pack, and that was just us in the moment. The valle isn’t going anywhere. So.

My Fender Twin Reverb amp has sat under my desk gathering dust for several years. I will not add them up for shame. It’s a classic, very loud, and weighs ten thousand pounds. After the sound went wonky and the tubes glowed strangely and the thing just quit, I stopped playing, too, and put the electric 12-string in the case. This was already well into the Great Deprivation and seemed to fit. No one feasts until I kill the dragon, etc. I already needed hearing aids and now a dental implant and of course a home. However. There’s just one way to have these things if you’re an artist, and it’s not the way I thought my whole damn life. That’s why I’m driving the amp to Santa Fe today to drop it off to be repaired. A new power supply, I think.

Everybody behave. Back soon!

* Blue Suede Shoes

Been a While

cat in dirt

Callie the Wonder Cat awaiting nothing

What can you do. I used to think it mattered, until I realized the biggest thing I ever did was marry my wife. It’s simply a miracle, it really is, that I found someone who loves me like that and she’s still here. Given the zombie caravan I brought to this fandango, it doesn’t make sense. Why should anything else?

The biggest thing we did last month was take a trip to Minneapolis. Family-related, on my wife’s side. Worthwhile for all concerned, though not without some underlying stress. We drove, of course. I won’t say that was a mistake, but if we ever do it all again I’m taking twice the time, staying at the priciest motels, and never putting one tire in Nebraska. It feels like the end of an era, though. We must have driven past three million cornfields in our time, talk about the living dead. I don’t mean this to sound depressing but it kind of is. The main thing now is finding us a home, and I’m not running any more. God damn, New Mexico is beautiful, and we found it on our own.

Therein lies a clue. My late mother, who sowed depression like the weeds of Hell, thought there was this empirical reality of doom that you could minimize but not deny. I learned my lesson well, but now I’m old and have decided to forget. I also did not know the Buddha taught to drop bad thoughts like rotten garbage. All those years of psycho-analysis without a simple tool, ye gods! Knowledge waits until you’re ready.

Sometimes we hold on to things that hurt because of fear there’s nothing there if we let go. Nothing except love, that is, and how was one to know?


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