Only 37 °F (3 °C), but it feels like spring, sort of. Hah. Tell that to the dirty solid ice outside the front door. It’s been there for over a month!
“Well, why don’t you get rid of it?”
I’m sure there’s a way. Have the washer woman and the scrub lady build a big fire, put on a heavy kettle like you’d boil your blankets in, and keep ladling hot water over it until it’s gone. Except outside the front door are a bunch of large stones set into the clay, and beyond that, a patio of swept earth that’s hard as concrete when it’s dry. “Old Taos,” like the kitchen window up above.
Of course, most old adobes don’t have such wide windows. For this we have to thank our dead landlord, who renovated this place in the early ’60s. Some of the main highways in this area weren’t even paved then. (A great many roads and Taos streets still aren’t and never will be.) Physical distance and isolation. Just like today, only we have less dust now. Supposedly. But this Old Taos thing has been around for over 400 years. They’ve got it down, or had it. Sigh. Just add electricity and indoor plumbing—which not everyone enjoys here—and you get where we live now.
The floor is hand-smoothed solid adobe mud on on top of the ground. My 6 Mbps internet comes in through a hole at my feet drilled through 18 inches of 110-year-old mud bricks. There’s a wood stove and a bathtub. No ceiling lights or wall switches, just a handful of old wall plugs. The oldest washing machine I’ve ever used empties into the sink, unless you forget to hook up the hose. Black widows live in warm corners, and I once found a baby scorpion on the kitchen counter.
None of this (except the bandwidth) is anything I feel content with in the broader sense, and yet it works. The massive walls and solid floor are deeply reassuring. We’re comfy at 20 below. I can take hot baths and dick around on the Internet. All of New Mexico is out there for me to hike in, four miles at a time. (I’ve lost 17 pounds since July.) On a day-to-day basis when there is no crisis, I am happy in long bursts and fear no evil. Out of this can come amazing things! Hell, I’m damn near staggered as it is. And what if the ice melts eventually, all by itself?
Wouldn’t that be cool?