Taos sky

Wouldn’t be April without a little mud

As I write, the “corn snow” (graupel) is coming down hard and there are boom-booms. I took this shot about thirty minutes before, again the iPhone 6s+, this time with a filter. The sky is where the action is, almost every day, no matter what the weather. This is one big thing that has me hooked. I can’t imagine living where I don’t see where we come from.


There it goes again!

Sumer Is Icumen In

wood pile scene in Taos, New Mexico

Another totally acceptable iPhone 6s+ shot. Dang.

“It’s almost May, she wailed, as heavy blobs of snow came plopping down this morning. Fortunately, it’s not so cold at thirty-nine degrees (4°C), so most of that has melted, and if you look closely, there are at least a few apricot blossoms on the half-dead tree on the left. Meanwhile (and after checking to be sure), I’m told el Norte’s famous Ten Minute Summer™ was spotted briefly leaving Tierra del Fuego and is finally on its way. Good thing I don’t like getting hot and sweaty.

The wood pile is impressive, ain’t it? Too bad that’s just the handle of my splitting maul that’s sticking up. The remaining wood—I’ve given every piece a name—has got to last through June. Tonight I’ll burn “Alfredo” or maybe “Jennifer,” saving “Fremont” for the weekend.

Across the Rio Pueblo

View from the cliff at Taos Valley Overlook

You can tell I’m at the edge of a steep slope by the way the trees go down

There’s actually a gorge between those cliffs and where I stood to take this shot. The Rio Pueblo runs at the bottom of it flowing toward the left, where it joins up with the Rio Grande and its even larger gorge beyond. This means that everything you see is Taos Pueblo land. The cliffs, the grassy (?) meadows way up on top, all that. No larger lesson or essay here, just another example of the outrageous landscape of el Norte. More places to fall down and get all busted up than this boy’s ever seen.

Ranchos neighborhood scene

Taos proper just a little to the left and three more miles

This is the view we see every time we go to town. (Another iPhone 6s Plus shot, zoomed in this time, which does affect the quality.) I have a soft spot for the property in the foreground because the former owner built real hot rods and drove them every day. After he moved away, the place sat vacant for a long, long time. My wife and I walked down there once after it was on the market and thought about it briefly. I could never let it go—still haven’t, really—because of the insane view and how cheap it was, but it really never had a chance with us. I imagined too much work, and the house itself is small. The people who did take over eventually had more vision than I did and made extensive changes. Jumped right in and started moving dirt, rebuilt the irrigation gate—important stuff that showed how serious they were. The greenhouse, the gardens, the fencing, all of that is new, and the house has had some upgrades, too. On the day we poked around, a horrible old decrepit dead RV sat parked close by and looked damn permanent. It’s gone now, obviously, although it threw me off back then.

My main problem with the the place is visible above: the south wall of the house is right next to the road! There’s hardly any right of way, just boom, the wall. A lot of old adobes in Taos are situated like that. Very European in some ways, Old World for sure. I guess I could have gotten used to the occasional pickup going by the kitchen window, but I was worried for the cat. Be that as it may, I still like to take a look at the place when I turn onto our own road coming home—not just for the view, but because I admire the new owners for taking advantage of a bargain and turning it into something cool with the power of intention.

I’ve learned a lot from watching this. It’s not a matter of, oh, we should have bought it, boo-hoo. Not at all. This is now, the present moment. Everything flows from here.

Irrational Joy

desert flower

What a world

Some days you just can’t and that’s all right. I wasn’t going to walk because of all the wet snow since Friday, but there was such a strange, positive energy in the air, I had to get out and move my body. I drove out to Taos Valley Overlook and took a different trail I knew to be more exposed and open to the sun. The sky was impossibly blue, the clouds the purest white. Partway down the mesa, I took a scenic detour at a certain arroyo because I had an intuition there’d be something there to photograph. There was.

I’m very happy with the camera in the iPhone 6s Plus.The image above is only ever-so-slightly tweaked, all but straight from the device. (My Pentax DSLR takes better pictures but not always.) To have the full experience with this thing, I decided to jump whole-hog into the cloud. Bear with me here, I know you’ve done it all before. But having everything I shoot upload to iCloud automatically is kinda wonderful. Kinda crazy, too. I can walk outside and shoot, come back in the house, sit down at the iMac, and the image is already there. Very satisfying for a lazy guy like me.

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