Isolation Therapy

view from Taos, NM

Looking west from Llano Quemado (south side of Taos)

This happens to me all the time: no matter how much at home I feel at any given moment, no matter how often my heart sings with joy at being in the mountains, no matter many epiphanies or transcendental experiences I’ve had, whenever I hear of someone leaving Taos, my first reaction is almost always one of envy, however brief.

This puzzles me. So many influences and deep passions of my life lead directly here, and here I am. What a huge accomplishment! It wasn’t easy, though, and one still learns. Sometimes I think, can I go home now? Except I am home, so the “home” thing must mean something else. A dollop of complacency, a little ease? Feeling safe in my own skin?

Today I heard someone was moving back to Portland, and there was that familiar pang. This makes no sense, however. I’ve never wanted to move to Portland. Maybe it’s the thought of newness or just the change itself. Taos is so isolated—wannabes have no idea—and that’s why I picked it, but no wonder I jump on road trips like a dying man.

In the end, of course, it matters not what others do. The other day I felt like my wife and I were in our thirties and just starting out. It was the strongest damn sensation, and I rode it for a while.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells 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. His latest endeavor is the aptly-named GODDAMN BUFFALO at Substack. 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.  

  • christian ienni February 9, 2014, 11:20 PM

    “Remember: wherever you go… there you are.” -Buckaroo Banzai

    • JHF February 10, 2014, 12:18 AM

      Exactly, thank you. Taos is the perfect place to learn that!

  • Rita February 10, 2014, 7:09 AM

    Oh gosh. You nailed it again. What is that? Cannot wait to get back on the road. Then can’t wait to get off it. I was thrilled to get out from under the constant responsibilities of having a house and dog. I could never leave because the ever-present drought would kill my garden.

    I do like having a home to return to, which I finally do now. It is an ancient airstream with the guts removed which is now mostly bookshelves. There is a separate little kitchen, storeroom and bathroom, on a creek, in the mountains, next to a bunch of horses and peacocks. Very cheap. However, I am itching to head over to the coast, or get down to where the sun shines. You know. I believe that whatever it is – it is incurable.

    Musicians have this thing, which I do not want to call a disease, but maybe it is. Dis-ease. At least the ones who have adjusted to touring all the time, I hear them chafe about getting back on the road. Maybe we inherited the cowboy gene.

    • JHF February 10, 2014, 10:22 AM

      You’re in California, right? God, I’d love to see the coast. Would probably blow what’s left of my mind.

  • Rita February 10, 2014, 11:39 AM

    I followed my grandkids to southern Oregon. It is nice to feel useful and I am rather attached to the little boy. Cute little bugger. Stole my heart.

    • JHF February 10, 2014, 3:05 PM

      Oh, that’s right! Oregon. Well, same difference. I spent a summer working at Olympic National Park and had 10 days at the beach there, but that was 30 million years ago.

  • Marti Fenton February 11, 2014, 8:21 PM

    I’ve lived here 22 years and only recently began to lose my patience with electrical outages, water problems and poverty. But I still love Taos. That doesn’t mean I don’t yearn to get away now and then. I visited the ocean last year and it didn’t grab me, neither does my home city, although sometimes I miss crazy Boulder. But when I go back there is nothing there. I can’t the old feelings anymore. I will probably die here, but I do get claustrophobic now and then.

    • JHF February 11, 2014, 8:36 PM

      My intended point here is that for me, at least, the location doesn’t really matter, nor the isolation, if… if… Very hard to put into words, which must be why I haven’t, except maybe in the title. 🙂

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