Monster of Love

blooming cholla in NM

Don’t get too close or it’ll gitcha

“Ohhh my heart is a monster of love
swallow you up like a dove, in the eye of a hurricane
ohhh making my heart sing, over and over again”

                (silly old song I wrote years ago – JHF)

My wife drove off to her studio a while ago. These colors remind me of what she was wearing, though they’re not the same at all. (There were even golden slippers on her feet.) That’s cholla, by the way. The reason cowboys wear chaps. Sometimes they call it “jumping cactus” because that’s how it seems to find you.

One time down in San Miguel de Allende, way back in history before time began, Lady the Wonder Dog got into some. She was a white German shepherd mix. I had her off the leash, and I think she saw a rabbit. The animal must have run under one of these, because when I got her back, she had chunks of it stuck all over her face and in her mouth. I’ll bet that rabbit laughed itself to death. Lady wasn’t laughing, though. I had to pull off all the pieces. There were thorns on her lips and tongue. To her everlasting credit, she held perfectly still while I pulled them out. How did I do that, I wonder? Tweezers? Pliers? Would I have had those with me on a trip to Mexico? I simply can’t remember.

Yesterday we drove to Orilla Verde for a picnic by the Rio Grande, but every spot was taken. What did I expect, the first Friday evening of official summer? Everywhere we went, people were erecting tents or fishing or just sitting in camp chairs with their feet in the water. (It was 92 degrees.) We pulled off the road near the Taos Junction Bridge and broke out the booze and chips regardless. “This is what’s happening,” she said. “We’ll have a drink and then go home and have a picnic at our own table in the back yard.”

I love it when that happens and I’m not supposed to think. She could do that lots more often than she realizes—I wonder if I should tell her or just shut up? I took this picture on the way back when both of us were hungry. “This will just take a second,” I said, reaching around in back for my camera.

“JOHN! Are we in a hurry?!?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “And thank you…”

All you kiddies think about is sex. That’s important, absolutely! So is lots of other stuff you won’t notice for a long, long time and maybe never.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “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.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Joe June 22, 2013, 12:12 PM

    I love your photos like this one. I lived in the desert in Arizona and West Texas a long time ago but I’m stuck somewhere else now. The day will come when I can drive down the roads and see cholla and the other desert beauties again. Until then thanks for the photos.

    • JHF June 22, 2013, 12:48 PM

      It’s always such a shock to see such color in the beige and brown. Hope you don’t have too long to wait before you’re motoring down those lonesome roads.

  • Mir B. June 23, 2013, 8:49 AM

    You know the Vista Verde Trail? It’s right there around the corner from where you must have been picnicking, halfway between the river and the rim. Short hike, exotic, and there’s petroglyphs along the way if you know where to look.

    • JHF June 23, 2013, 9:02 AM

      No, haven’t tried the west bank of the river for hiking. But that sounds like a winner!



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