Taos Valley Overlook scene

That’s Lobo Peak in the distance. I want to hike up there soon.

Oh, it’s hard sometimes, knowing which way to go. My sister just had an operation on her trachea to manage a cancer scare. She’s in a hospital in Dallas and doing fine, but I’ve lost one sister already to liver cancer, and this makes me stumble. My wife will need a troubling operation on her eyelid, of all places, to remove a small lesion. It’s always something, I guess. What I can’t stand is someone cutting into the body of a loved one for any reason, no matter how big or small a procedure we’re talking about. It activates a primal defensive reaction in me and causes great pain. Never mind that the people I’m concerned about are strong and in excellent shape, the business knocks me down. I feel like I’m taking the blow.

Two days ago I hit my favorite hiking trail to walk four miles. It was an outstandingly beautiful and comfortable day. The combination of “warm enough” plus low humidity and just a little breeze is so ideal for my own version of a human body that when I’m out there in it, I never want the experience to end. What that meant on Tuesday was that I hit my two-mile marker—the turnaround point—and kept on going. I knew that by doing so, I’d add about a mile and a half to my route by completing a large loop that also would put me close to the edge of the cliffs and offer some wonderful views. (It may not look so steep here, but if you dropped a basketball where I stood to take this picture, it would rapidly roll into the gorge of the Rio Pueblo and be gone!)

Naturally, I amended my already-changed route before I finished. Spotting an old Jeep track that went straight up a hill, I decided to take it and see if I could short-cut a few switchbacks. That worked out well, but did I ever have to climb. My knees hadn’t been heard from, however, until this morning. The right one is stiff and a little bit swollen. Lifting my foot through the leg hole in my underwear was tricky—ouch!—and there’ll be no hiking today. Apparently it’s possible to do too much at once, though this rarely applies to the things that I must.

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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 May 5, 2016, 11:58 AM

    When the weather is so pleasant and the walking enjoyable, its hard to pace yourself. I’ve also overdone it the last couple of days. Thought my foot, broken in September, was ready for 3 miles each of the last two evenings. Guess not. I’m paying for it today, along with my ankles and right knee. Oh, well.

  • judyinboston May 6, 2016, 10:17 AM

    Walking stimulates our brains and our creative juices. You’re lucky to hike where the big sky panoramas are.
    Apropos surgery: in my book, there is no such thing as elective surgery. Way too scary.

    • JHF May 6, 2016, 11:11 AM

      Nothing elective about either one! Eyelid lesion is a basal cell carcinoma and has to come off. Otherwise, who cares?

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