Seven Degrees at the Edge of Town

snowy backyard in Taos, New Mexico

More fun with polarizing filter and RAW mode

The sun here in the winter is a saving grace. It melts the snow, dries the mud, and feels damn good against the skin at seven thousand feet, even as you’ve been living on the edge so long, it’s flat, and the air is cold enough to kill you.

The temperature dropped to 7 degrees Fahrenheit last night (minus 14 Celsius). That’s not so bad, considering we’ve seen minus 26 (minus 32) in this location, but consider the other factors. About fifteen years ago, a young woman driving home to Questa from an office Christmas party here in Taos missed a curve just south of San Cristobal and flew off the road—literally—in her pickup truck. It was also 7 degrees that night. She survived the crash and started walking for help but got tangled up in barbed wire, passed out from her injuries, and froze to death, all within sight of the house she was trying to reach. Her boyfriend died on that same stretch a year or two before; she would have passed by his descanso a few seconds before she left the road…

It’s like sometimes you just can’t get away.

John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put 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. 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.  

  • Marti Fenton November 22, 2015, 11:34 AM

    There are mysterious connections and sometimes they surprise us. I remember that story in the Taos News, but didn’t realize it was that long ago. Time has more than one track. It seems the older I get, the more aware I am of how tricky time is. About the polarizing filter; burrr! the strong detail and blueish tint really brings out the cold.

    • JHF November 22, 2015, 1:52 PM

      Re the accident near San Cristobal: It did in fact occur in late November, 2000, almost precisely fifteen years ago. I’d written about it in a column for a now-defunct website—the incident is also the subject of a chapter in my BUFFALO LIGHTS book—and I was able to find the piece still taking up space on a server somewhere. I don’t want to link to it, because I’m trying to get the content taken down.

      The polarizing filter reduces reflected glare. That brings out the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds. There’s actually a lot less of the “blue tint” as a result. The snow is whiter, for example.

  • terri November 24, 2015, 1:17 AM

    That shot does look colder. The filter does something alright. Hey I thought of you when seeing a recent TV report about a company that is making the Navajo rez roads stable, even if they are dirt. No muddy track-canyons and such. And natural materials too, binds w/ the dirt and stays flat & smooth.

    • JHF November 27, 2015, 7:22 AM

      Tell it to the county! HAHAHA. 🙂

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