SAN CRISTOBAL, TAOS COUNTY, SUMMER OF ’99
“Welcome to the valley,” Ricky Medina said when we signed up for a post office box. We had no idea what we were getting into. At that time, San Cristobal had the only legal water system in the entire United States that operated without a treatment facility: just pure water piped into a small number of homes from San Cristobal Creek high up in the mountains. Oh God. Almost 8,000 ft up with 90 mile views to the west. Mostly Hispanic with a few Anglo hippies, artists, and professionals who liked their privacy. A scattering of trailers and adobe houses up and down the two dirt roads. Wretched barking dogs. Elk bugling in the fall and running through deep powder snow illuminated in our headlight beams. Bears, coyotes, golden eagles, hawks, and prairie dogs. The occasional mountain lion. Hummingbirds that flew inside through unscreened windows for me to catch with my bare hands. Stars that strobed instead of twinkled. Bulls in the driveway, rats in the attic…
WHOA! Apologies, you’ll have to read this one at my Substack. There are just too many photos to make it work here. While you’re there, you might as well subscribe. If you do, it downloads in your email, formatted perfectly for phones and iPads. – JHF
Not a bad life. Resophonic bouzouki, cool hat, new glasses, wahoo.
Yes, that’s me. Just wanted to explain what’s going on here with the new “Photo Blog” category you see above under the post header. I’m a creature of habit. Most of the time, I “save” photos for essays, upload them to my Smugmug gallery, or spontaneously post them on Twitter. So if your only contact with my writing or artwork is this website, you miss most of my photos if I’m not writing essays. Site traffic also falls off, fans get pissed, and I feel bad. So from here on out, I’ll fill in the gaps once in a while.
Here’s what I recommend:
• Subscribe to JHFARR.COM, of course, from the form at the bottom of any page. You’ll receive an email reminder whenever I update the site.
• If you’re mostly here for the photos, you really ought to visit my Smugmug site on a regular basis. (You can even buy them there.)
• Besides those, you really need to sign up for my GODDAMN BUFFALO (no, really) newsletter at Substack. What I’m really doing is cross-posting most new writing there and here. But when you subscribe there, you’ll get an email with the entire post and photos formatted perfectly for mobile devices, so you don’t even have to visit the website. In addition, there will be Substack posts that don’t lend themselves to cross-posting here, so that’s where you want to be sure you don’t miss anything.
It also has a completely different tone. The UI (user interface) lends itself to that and I’m all for it. Right now I’m republishing a number of selected Top Posts from here, though with additional photos, as well as new material. By now this is probably all clear as mud, so just visit the “What Is GODDAMN BUFFALO?” page to learn more.
Carry on and good luck.
Self-explanatory but no less special. Two and a half weeks ago we were all alone on a holiday in this magnificent space and cool clean air. The very reason we left friends and home in Maryland 20 years ago, to experience more of this amazing Earth while still inside these bodies. No, really. That’s why. Onward!
Rio Grande Gorge in foreground, river far below. Photo taken just inside the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument from Cerro in northern Taos County. That’s Ute Mountain in the distance, 10,093 feet high. The extinct volcano is over two million years old. Dig it.
Note the new “Photo Blog” category above. All future essay-free photo posts will show up there with just a click!
We were all alone for this, 800 feet above the Rio Grande. Sometimes it really is too much to take.