Old Aspen Song

winter dawn s. of Taos

Tight shot from same day as before, 7:00 a.m.

This used to be a barren hillside. Around 1961 or ’62—think proto-hippie, hard-core, early lefty-artsy-sure-I’ll-try-some days when you could almost buy an old adobe with the money on your hip—a tiny enclave did arise. At one time or another, neighborhood residents included a well-known photographer, Krishnamurti’s ex-girfriend, a couple of jazz musicians, Jerry Garcia’s ex-girlfriend, a writer and theater critic, a painter, a potter, professional drunks, and a one-time neighbor of Allen Ginsburg and Gary Snyder who used to run hashish from Turkey to Amsterdam with a trick car and guns. (Later Dennis Hopper showed up and lived for a time in a house in this shot.) The hillside stayed barren until somewhere in this time frame a few of these folks planted aspens, cottonwoods, and apple trees along the acequia. One of them, the largest aspen I’ve ever seen, died quite some time ago but stood until the power company cut it down.

Few signs of this cultural history remain. If you knew where to look and had a guide like I did, you might hear, “So-and-so built that walkway with rocks from the mountain,” or “Then he got high and tried to run over my dog,” or “That’s where we played trumpet and drums while everyone danced…” She lives high up in the canyon now but gets her mail here because the house is illegal—not up to code, no permits, no law.

There’s a small pond with muskrats. No toilet. That’s all.

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.  

  • judyinboston February 4, 2016, 11:50 AM

    Lots of interesting history in your particular area. I hope you (or someone) are writing it down, as people would be interested in these stories.

{ 1 comment… add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Subscribe to THIS WEBSITE

Enter email address to receive new post notices. Super-easy on and off, manage by yourself.

Find anything at JHFARR.COM

Browse Archives

Browse Categories

Translate This Page