Arroyo Lust [Revised]

arroyo south of Taos

Time to take a little stroll?

When I was a kid, places like this held amazing powers of attraction for me. They still do. The camera doesn’t do it justice, though. This arroyo is almost 20 feet deep, and I had to be careful about not falling in when I took the shot. Consider that the sagebrush is about two to three feet high, and you’ll get a better sense of scale. The bottom isn’t really visible in this photo. If I were walking through, you wouldn’t see my head.

I could have been a geologist. Just look at the layers exposed by erosion: where did all those rocks come from? A violent volcanic blast? Debris from roaring ancient rivers? Some of the stones are “river rocks,” rounded as if from tumbling in the current. Many are quite huge. Seeing the bank exposed like this always gets me excited. What else is down there? Fossils, artifacts? Animal burrows?—yes to that. I have one spotted with what looks like a couple of bones in front. So at some point I’ll be walking down there and we’ll see. It scares me a little to think of that, as there isn’t an escape route.

This spot is close to where I fell down twice mysteriously. A little farther up the hill from here, I left an offering of Navajo smoking mix (tobacco, herbs, etc.) and asked to be clued in. Nothing happened, but I am told the protocol involves more subtlety. As in not asking, for example. Not even trying to listen.

amazing hole

There are so many places full of mystery and power in this part of the world. I know a place in Colorado, high atop a cliff, where I can drop a rock into a hole and never hear it hit the bottom.* What do you suppose is down there? What kinds of skeletons, shaman relics, jewels from other worlds? We just can’t know.

But sure as hell there’s something.

* It’s been years, I’d want to check again. In any case, it sure is scary!

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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.  

  • theo nelson June 19, 2013, 8:42 PM

    Oh John,
    The only advice I can offer you is, “Don’t fall down.” I am, however, in total joy at the photos you take. 🙂 Thank you so much for the pieces of your life you give us.

    • JHF June 22, 2013, 12:46 PM

      Most welcome, Theo. And thank you for how you do the same. 🙂

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