If Your Sky Does This, You Win

spring sky over Tao Valley Overlook

A day at the office at the top of the world

Oh, what a day. Windy and wild! You could see and feel the cold air and moisture blowing down from Colorado. A hundred miles away in the direction you’re looking (WNW), the forecast was for one to two feet of wet snow.

I love living at seven thousand feet. There’s something so healthy about it. All my organs are awake! (Well, most of them.)

“Jesus, look how high we are!”
“More hemoglobin! Shit!”

Whenever we come down from the mountains, which is almost never, the first thing I notice is how heavy the air is. I keep expecting people to complain. It’s like the stuff they breathe is crushing them and no one notices, but I do. If it happens to be humid, so much the worse. There’s a palpable lift coming back to high altitude. (Duh.) I feel wired. Could just be the body freaking out at being stuck back in the clouds. No matter, I like it. It fills me with a strange excitement, being closer to the sky.

A little over a year ago, I flew to Maine to see what I’d inherited from my aunt’s house. On my last afternoon there, I drove down to the ocean. It had easily been twenty years since I’d put my feet in the Great Holy Salt Water that covers the Earth. The blue-green surf was mesmerizing. The ocean itself was so big, slowly heaving and sighing with a life all its own, rising and falling and stretching forever. The primal smells. The booming waves. The hissing sand.

Gave me a thrill, it did. Part of me wanted to buy my aunt’s house just to be forty-five minutes away from all that. The only problem was that Maine lay in between, and there were people in it.

Also, the air was heavy as rocks.

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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  

  • Marti Fenton Whitedeersong March 27, 2014, 12:21 AM

    Gorgeous photo. Sublime view, but I’m tired of wind.

    • JHF March 27, 2014, 12:32 AM

      Thanks! My wife can’t stand it either. Only three months of spring to go!

  • terri March 27, 2014, 12:39 AM

    3 months of spring? You mean April, and by May it will be summer which will last until the end of September 🙂

    • JHF March 27, 2014, 12:53 AM

      Yeah well, Albuquerque! Hunnert dang degrees. Summer up here lasts four or five days. I hardly know why they bother with it.

  • Carolfrombatonrouge March 27, 2014, 6:15 AM

    Beautiful sky
    I agree with you about heavy air. It gets quite humid and heavy here in the summer, below sea level. And when I go to Colorado, it takes we forever to be able to exert myself without blacking out. HA

    • JHF March 27, 2014, 8:39 AM

      Below sea level?!? 🙂 But you’re right. It’s a lot easier to wave my arms in the thin air here. Had to get help to do that in MD.

  • Rita March 27, 2014, 8:15 AM

    Oh so true. I tend to hang out in 3500′ places, or so I realize now that you bring it up. This is why I like your blog. You have the knack of saying things that spark realizations – and, of course, the gorgeous photos.

  • Mig Zee March 27, 2014, 5:23 PM


    We’s got good sky here in Adelaide, Oz, even tho’ it’s at sea- level, and we have to take EPO to get the results you obtain at 7,000 feet.

    [That’s a weak Lance Armstrong joke, amigo.]


    Cheers, Michael

    • JHF March 27, 2014, 7:04 PM

      I’d be entranced. I’ve always been fascinated by Australia. Sea level is fine, too, so long as you have a boat. I love getting around by water.

      We lived once on an old waterfront farm in MD. It was on a long tidal creek that opened into a wide tidal river. We used to take a 15-ft wooden skiff powered (I used the word loosely) by an old outboard motor all the way to town and back to get the Sunday paper. It took over an hour each way. Pure joy.

  • Leanne Retana April 9, 2014, 6:30 PM

    Heading to Taos for a week in September. It will be a nice reward for surviving another cruel, hot and humid Missouri summer.

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