Cabin Fever (Saturn Square Natal Sun)

New Mexico woman cleaning window

Wiping condensation off the single-pane window

A part of me likes this. After all, if it’s cold as hell outside and snowing besides, everyone’s excused. Down to zero tonight or close to it, real numbers-don’t-matter-we’re-all-frozen-dead territory. Vehicles, house, your own damn self: if something’s not fixed right, tomorrow it’s broke.

The cat’s going crazy from being inside. Sniffs at the threshhold and turns right around. Snow and a fox, you know. Had to stop feeding the birds because the fox laps up birdseed—who knew?—but as you can see, I’ve cheated. Saw a couple of juncos looking so sad and just had to. It snowed enough all day to leave a fresh blanket of white. If the fox is still in the neighborhood and comes looking, I’ll find tracks in the snow. Then what?

Old friends from Maryland are flying into El Paso this weekend to visit their son in Truth or Consequences. We’ve been through there. Once I even pulled off and bought gas. Makes you wonder, all right, but then look where I am. Anyway, they thought we could drive down to meet up. I’m not saying we won’t, but New Mexico is huge. That’s almost 300 miles, and today we’d have run into a blizzard. As another friend told me a long time ago, you have to “pay attention” in the West. If the ice doesn’t get you, the rock slides will. When the sun comes out and thaws the cliffs in the canyon, boulders come loose and roll onto the road. Skid on a curve, land in the river, get your own cross—wait, I’m getting into this!

We don’t mess around here in the Land of Enchantment. The sun goes down so fast this time of year, from day to day it’s like it’s racing with itself—by the time I wake up and get dressed, it’s almost time to go to bed. A little like being sick or held for ransom or aliens are out to kill the world by dialing back the sun. That’s why I’m aiming for the solstice. After that, a man can dream a little as the daylight lingers on the frozen mud.

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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  

  • Rita December 6, 2013, 7:27 AM

    Man. I miss my woodstove. It makes all these things so much more bearable. I used to chafe about being chained to my place to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter or the garden from drying up in the summer. Gotta get me a cabin somehow, just dont know where. If I do, I swear I will give up all complaining. Maybe.

    • JHF December 6, 2013, 9:23 AM

      Oh, the woodstove! Yes. You’re exactly right about the chained part, too. I must have written a thousand posts over the years about heating with wood. In fact, I meant to include some more with this post, but I was nodding off by the time I “finished” it last night. Part of cabin fever is being cooked by the radiated heat. One has to take emergency measures sometimes. Last night I had the (adjacent) kitchen window wide open at 7 °F to get some fresh air into the house.

  • Marti Fenton December 6, 2013, 11:34 AM

    Makes me feel guilty. Fourteen years in an old adobe down a mud road and now I live in town on a paved road in a newer adobe with radiant floor heat. Ah, the memories. I still have to shovel snow off the sidewalk and sweep snow off the car cause the garage is full of stuff and we can’t afford to buy storage. Taos is aways a humbling experience.

    • JHF December 6, 2013, 12:45 PM

      No, no, don’t feel guilty! That’s exactly what we want. 🙂 It can happen now. Too much conflict of one kind or another before. But we haven’t been in this adobe for fourteen years: just 10 for me, eight for my wife. Before that in a condo in town (!), a casita in Arroyo Seco, and back-and-forth between two great places in San Cristobal.

  • Katy George December 6, 2013, 4:33 PM

    t or c is a strange place, but worth the trip for the delicious hot springs.. river bend is my favorite. lots of viet nam vets our age.

    • JHF December 6, 2013, 10:43 PM

      Hi Katy! It’s been a while since I did anything like that. Excellent tip, thanks.

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