9,000th Shot of Taos Mountain

Taos Mountain in the clouds

Monsoon clouds and moisture in the air

Heck, wouldn’t you? I mean, look at that thing. Taos Mountain is to the left and under the clouds. Everything you’re looking at is Pueblo land, by the way. No bikers, jerky vendors, or Confederate flags. No realtors, ski bums, or trust-funders playing hippies. No temples, preachers, or bleeding saints. No poetry readings, fanny packs, or country music. No Chamber of Commerce, mini-marts, or Dollar General (not that they wouldn’t want one). I don’t actually mind all those things, and I’m kind of partial to bikers—motorized and otherwise—but by God, I like wilderness better all the time. Just to know it’s there, you know?

In Maryland I could get a feel for this by being on the water. If I sailed or kayaked up the tidal Chester River to where the woods came right down to the shore, there would sometimes be a cove with a strip of sandy beach. Moving quietly past such places, I imagined they’d been that way almost forever. No doubt with bigger trees, more animals, and water you could see into, but still. It was a comfort and a thrill. It plugged me into something special. It activated dormant sensors in my brain.

Out West, you just get massacred. A couple years before we moved, we were down here on vacation in the summer. I’d driven us out to Wild Rivers north of Questa, all the way out to La Junta Overlook where the Red River flows into the Rio Grande 800 feet below. A thunderstorm had just moved past, covering the ground with hail, and now the sun was out. The air was crisp, the light was fierce, and all the wet things sparkled. There were huge dark clouds over the Sangre de Cristos mountains to the east. I could see lightning strike the peaks from where we stood because the air was crystal clear. My body started shaking. Tears ran from my eyes. I had the overwhelming feeling I was home.

It felt so wonderful. Like everything was forgiven and all would be okay. No more searching, no more guilt. Like I was touching god-stuff. I couldn’t turn my back on that. I had to pay attention.

Of course this means a spiritual home. That wasn’t clear to me at first. The power of the landscape took me to a place where there was love in cosmic measure. (Help yourself! Why yes, I think I will.) PEOPLE NEED THIS SHIT! Stop tearing up the Earth! Keep whatever we have left and show it to your kids! For those of you whose parents ate their young, especially, this is how you get back to the truth.

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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  

  • Marcie Coulter September 15, 2013, 10:46 AM

    I found your posts doing *more* research on Taos. We have been on the fence about the place for three(ish) years. We are getting more and more serious about an Earthship at the same time we get and more and more older.

    I thought local knowledge over time would help make the decision. Thus far you’d provided me enough reality – muddy roads, really ugly bugs and house maintenance being list toppers – to keep the ‘offgridTaos’ fantasy well, real. And then you went and did this?

    See – that’s just confirming our fantasy.

    • JHF September 15, 2013, 11:58 AM

      Hi Marcie!

      First of all, Taos is a money trap. High cost of living, isolation, low wage jobs (if you can find one), population actually decreasing, and the housing market is distorted by well-off second home buyers and retirees. There are always tons of houses sitting on the market, yet neither rentals nor real estate are cheap. Without a solid plan and plenty of cash, most people who voluntarily move here now will crash and burn. It’s that kind of place. That said, I came here for the Nature. In that regard, it’s been an outstanding success!

      (You maybe ought to read my books, but watch your step. I know of three couples who did and moved to Taos. None of them are here now and everyone’s divorced…)

      • Marcie Coulter September 15, 2013, 2:33 PM

        Hi John!
        If we could we’d build here in Northern CA – prospects for ground water collection are better. Alas, there’s an assload of redtape and buildingpermitbullshit in this area so Earthships are not an option for us here. We’ve looked in the Taos area and in the Colorado Springs area. Taos still has the lead. We spent a couple nights out in the Earthship community past the gorge. It was really impressive.

        That feeling of not needing PG&E (our local electric co) was extraordinarly satisfying. The natural heating, cooling and ventilation provides life sustenance on a completely different vibration. Much better than this fake heating and cooling we subject ourselves to.

        We would be very poor for shore.

        What do the people do there?

        • JHF September 15, 2013, 3:13 PM

          What do the people do here? You mean, for a living? The sorts of things one does anywhere, I guess. But it’s all locked up. Without a growing population, there simply isn’t any work for newcomers. You have to bring your living with you, obviously. And you have to be completely mad. (I mean that in a mostly good way.)

  • Marcie Coulter September 15, 2013, 4:46 PM

    Exactly what I expected. Earthship shopping is interesting. The idea of offgrid is certainly appealing. The lifestyle changes are the test. And each offering we consider shows that dichotomy. To have a nice one come about in an affordable range is unusual.

    I do always wonder what drove the owners to sell. My boyfriend believes it to be life circumstances. And I wonder if our lives could withstand the life circumstances that would come along with accepting Taos NM lifestyle changes?

    • JHF September 15, 2013, 5:04 PM

      People have told me (no personal experience) that earthships are stuffy and humid. I don’t know. Would never live in one, myself. Too claustrophobic! I need open windows and views.

      • Jezebel April 8, 2014, 1:53 PM

        I live in an earthship, (the Sol Ship) in the Greater World Community. I do not think earthships are humid or stuffy. If you need open windows and views – earthships are the best. Every time I visit a friend in a conventional home in the area, I am amazed at how dark it is in them. I can get a tan while sitting on the sofa in my house- the whole front is glass facing south- I have a hard time not engaging when people say earthships are dark or stuffy. I have been in plenty earthships and some people make them better than others, but of any complaints I have about them- ‘dark, stuffy, humid’ aren’t among my gripes. Just sayin’.

        • JHF April 8, 2014, 3:46 PM

          Hi Jezebel, thanks for stopping by!

          This is an older post. I’ve been bitching for a long time on this blog! So many preconceptions, so many “rules.” Fortunately, not so much now. I very much appreciate your comments about earthships, about which I am an idiot and have no business speaking. My wife and I need to find a place, and I won’t rule anything out!

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