Yellow Roads of Taos

Taos Valley Overlook scene

The pun is not too subtle, is it?

Something strange happens almost every time I’m out here. The energy on this particular stretch is rather strong, in fact. This is more or less where I once “fell” twice on successive days, going each way. The first time was a surprise. The second time, I was actually trying not to fall down, aware of the danger as I walked uphill, and still I crashed into the dirt! To me it felt like being swatted by a giant hand.

Today I experienced an auditory hallucination about fifty yards up the hill from here. That happens a lot anyway, what with my hearing loss—it’s not just that you don’t hear things, you hear things that just aren’t there at all. Little noises end up amplified against the stillness. Buzzing horseflies sound like human voices. There may be rattles, scraping, knocking on the rocks behind me as I walk, like animals or people on the trail. Maybe it’s the sound of bighorns clattering over the rocks just out of sight below the ridge, I tell myself. If the sun’s gone down, I think of spaceships, strange forbidden rituals, warps of time and space.

This morning it was a single human voice, a woman, as loud and clear as anything. I thought for certain she’d be with a group of bikers coming up the path. “Where’s the hand?” it said. I was so sure this was real, I stood off the trail to wait for them to pass, but no one came. Where’s the hand? Are you kidding me? [Go see the first paragraph again.] The next thing was, I thought I’d better find the goddamned thing, if there was one that wanted finding. I scanned the hillside on the other side of the arroyo. Nothing. I gazed into the brush with unfocused eyes. Nothing. No bony fingers reaching from the dust. Probably a good thing.

Anyway, looky where I get to hike! Earth boy does good.

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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  

  • Sherry September 3, 2015, 7:22 AM

    Beautiful, but I’d be afraid of rattlers. Yellow roads of Taos….ar ar…from one Texan to another :).

    • JHF September 3, 2015, 7:39 AM

      Rattlers? 🙂 In several years of hiking out there, I’ve seen one snake. A bull snake, I think. In my sixteen years in New Mexico, I’ve seen a single rattlesnake. That was in San Cristobal, and it wasn’t a big diamondback like back in Texas. We don’t have those. Texas is crawling with rattlesnakes! I used to see them all the time in Austin, believe it or not. But I think it’s too cold here in northern New Mexico. Farther south, there are signs at rest areas warning about snakes, but I’ve never seen one.

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