Another Snow…

old Taos adobe in the snow

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It snowed all day. It’s the middle of the evening now, and light snow is still coming down. There’s almost half a foot on the ground now, heavy wet stuff that’s really hard to shovel. I think it’s safe to say I’m tired of this, mainly because of our peculiar situation here.

Everything was fine by Taos standards until a few years ago when the county reclassified the two hundred yards of dirt road from our house to the stop sign as a “private” road. Who it’s supposed to belong to is anybody’s guess, and ever since the nuts and bolts of living here have kind of gone to hell. The condition of the road, even when it’s dry, imparts a grimness to one’s life. The place? Still cute, though, and do we ever have the wildlife: bobcats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, birds, and every now and then a cow. Once a bear broke down a plum tree. We look right out on Taos Mountain. In the summer, it’s a gas.

When the road was regularly graded and plowed, what little snow remained melted into the ditches on either side and drained away. In the years since the county cut us loose, the road itself became the ditch and turns into a giant bog. This year the ground didn’t freeze before the first big snow. When it melted, things got bad. The storms have come fairly regularly this winter, and without a chance to dry, the road gets worse and worse. All the more galling when when one drives two minutes away and everything is fine!

We didn’t get our mail today because it never came. The mail lady must have freaked out at the road.* (She has before.) Tomorrow I’ll bust the car loose if I’m able. Carrying in wood, digging paths in the snow, finding ways to deal with all the mud so we can walk up to the car or just go feed the birds… It’s so much physical work to live like this. That we can do it (and have done so) is a point of pride, I guess. Driving through the slop to come home and hang wet laundry on racks beside the wood stove isn’t, but a change is gonna come.

Oh yeah. This year. About which I feel really good.

* Oops! She did come, just awfully late. Figures!

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • christian ienni January 31, 2015, 12:42 AM

    from the timing you describe, and having followed your adventures all these years, i would imagine your late former landlord had been the one taking care of the “political contribution” necessary to keep the road graded (or at least “knew somebody who knew somebody”… ah, small-town corruption, nothing like it!).

    • JHF January 31, 2015, 10:43 AM

      Our late landlord never paid a bribe. All he had to do was call the local county commissioner, because back then our portion of the road was still officially a county road. The current bullshit is the result of whoever “pruned” the inventory of county roads, eliminating all those pesky short runs. (That way the road grader/plow doesn’t have to turn around.) The money saved probably went to hire a relative or increase someone’s expense account. The other six families on the road don’t seem give a damn, so whatcha gonna do? Heh—move, is what.

      But not to any dirt road in Taos County—which is most of them—county road or no. 🙂

      • christian ienni February 8, 2015, 1:07 PM

        ah i see. things were by the book when your landlord was alive, but after that someone else somewhere saw an opening to take advantage of for their own ends, so there you go. 🙂

        a dirt road in Taos County? you don’t say?! 😉

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