Found It Again

Rio Grande view

No one here at all

We were half an hour down the road at 10 to 15 mph except for crawling over black volcanic boulders. The Dakota’s V-8 chugged happily enough that in the smoother stretches, I had the brief sensation I was piloting a boat at low speed in the vast high desert sea. And then we saw the cliffs.

The route out there was utterly unmarked. I’d researched it online, however, and found a hiking website with an entry by a fellow who’d measured the distance to each turn: .3 mile, 4.5 miles, and so on. Dead accurate, as far as I could tell. No way in hell would I have ever made it on my own.

I pulled off the road—not to get out of the way of non-existent traffic, but to turn the truck 90° to face the river. We ate lunch in the cab and marveled at the quiet and the intensity of the sun. The wind was brisk, the temperature 58°F (14.5°C). I had to walk about 100 feet to find the view you see above.

The wildness, though. The terrible beauty that doesn’t need you. The “emptiness” is crazy wrong. Of course you pay attention. Why else are you here except to be burned up with spiritual fire?

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.  

  • judy March 16, 2018, 9:50 AM

    Envious of your vast, beautiful vistas.

    • JHF March 16, 2018, 10:16 AM

      Just think of that stretch of river below with no footprints or other human signs along the banks. No way to even get down there, either, for the most part. Coming face-to-face with this can change a person. I know it’s had a big effect on me.

  • Catherine Naylor March 16, 2018, 10:40 AM

    “Why else are you here except to be burned up with spiritual fire?”

    What a magnificent ending sentence!

    • JHF March 17, 2018, 1:14 AM

      Thanks, Catherine! I do believe you made my day.

  • christina ienni March 16, 2018, 12:02 PM

    there’s that old Carl Sagan quote about how “we are a way for the universe to know itself”…
    you are most certainly doing your part for that tiny corner of everything! 😉

    • JHF March 17, 2018, 1:16 AM

      Excellent Sagan quotation! Doing what I can. I do love those wide open spaces.

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