Take away the freeways, something happens
I was walking along this escarpment a couple of days ago. The wind was strong and blowing from the west, hitting the cliff below straight on, blasting an updraft over the top. Moments before I took this photo, a pair of turkey vultures swooped up from the arroyo below, riding on the current! It was like they just shot out of the ground, because I hadn’t seen them flying below. At that point, they were very close to me for an instant but went on to fly an immense circle almost to the edge of the gorge, then dropped back down, flew back up the arroyo, and rode the updraft over the cliff again at almost the same spot! It was quite a thing to see, the way they covered so much space from such a height without ever flapping their wings.
Today I was at a different but not dissimilar location, with contact of a sort in mind. You could think of this as relaxation into melding with the chthonic spirits, but who the hell am I to be so arrogant? Let’s just say I stood there emptying my mind as best I could, and then I felt this density and asked, what wants expression? (Real mystical shaman voodoo shit!)
At that exact moment I heard a soft, deep buzzing. I was standing perfectly still, facing the sun, with my eyes partially closed. All I could think of was a large bee or wasp. The buzzing seemed to come from in front of my head, above the brim of my cap, before circling once so close that I could feel a tell-tale vibrating puff of air against my ear: a hummingbird, by God! Not that I actually saw it, but with experience, you know. Now look at that photo again: see any flowers? There are however bright red colors in the University of New Mexico Lobos logo on the front of my hat! All right, then.
It all makes perfect sense to me, my question and the rest—one needs to grok the symbolism of a hummingbird—but then I’m lost to preachers and the grid. There seems to be assistance in the greater scheme of things, at any rate. Go forth and raise some hell.
Behold the rift!
Well, I mean, why not? Why in the only everloving world we’ve ever known the hell not?
A friend of mine* owns half of an entire mountain with the lava plug of an old volcanic cone at the summit. (No, not shown in photo.) He and I are going to make a “run for the cone” on some sort of two-wheel all-terrain contraption that should carry both of us. At the top of this mountain is supposed to be an ancient UFO landing site and lots of petroglyphs. Lord, I love New Mexico. This will be extremely dangerous and crazy. We are mighty warriors!
* You may think the title refers to following him. Not so. He’s following, too.
Ten minutes from the house to here »Buy This Photo!«
You know how I’m always posting photos from Taos Valley Overlook about five miles south of Ranchos de Taos, itself three miles south of Taos? The gorge, the ninety-mile views, all that?—there will be more of those coming up, but this is what’s behind me to the south when I take those other pictures. Not a bad place to hike, is it? Picuris Peak is the one in shadow, not the rocky one in front, and just beyond on the other side of the mountains is Picuris Pueblo, one of the smaller ones you don’t hear about so much. A couple of thousand years ago a tribe that lived more or less where you’re looking now—a little to the left, actually—decided to split up: some of them moved to what became Taos Pueblo, and the others went to Picuris. Yes, two thousand years ago. The Spaniards showed up here about four centuries ago. We came in ’99, although I only just now arrived in the full sense of the word.
It’s good to be somewhere, isn’t it? I’ve spent a considerable portion of the last fifteen years trying to be all kinds of places. Meanwhile, look at where I’ve been! I did not fuck up, in other words. The voices in my blood from childhood are simply wrong. Yesterday, while walking three and a half miles virtually all alone in this beautiful place, I felt flooded with joy. At one point I was startled to realize that the stream of thoughts inside my head for the previous few minutes had been a happy one without conditions. It took up my whole mind! The usual quiet nasty business wasn’t there.
I told my wife, and she said, “See? That’s how it is.” She’s been saying that for years, but I could never feel it.
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Water flowing from right to left, view is to the ENE »Buy This Photo!«
This is about where I was standing when I took the photo in the previous post. That’s a wild cherry tree blooming by the acequia. The cherries are tiny but taste just like the big ones in the stores or sold at the orchards in Velarde, but you have to get them before the western tanagers do. Which reminds me: putting up hummingbird feeders today! I’ll have shots of them and the expected orioles very shortly.
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The struggle is over, a new world’s been born. For some reason, spring is more important in my life than I remember from the past. At any rate, what you’re looking at is a view from the acequia to a neighbor’s house and across the valley of the Rio Grande del Rancho toward Taos and the mountains beyond. What an amazingly fine day today. Cool, breezy, deep.
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