Arroyo Fire

red desert flowers

iPhone 6s Plus shot, straight from camera, cropped

I knew we’d find some as the weather warmed up, and there they were, at the bottom of an arroyo on a mesa where we sometimes go to hike. It was a gorgeous day. Any day I can walk a fast three miles at seven thousand feet and not need to be rescued is pretty slick, actually. Our local organic supermarket gives out little poker chips if you bring your own bags. There’s a display of decorated cans from various non-profit groups on the way out where you can drop your chips, and the store donates a dime for each one. I always choose the Taos County Search & Rescue can, because well, hell… nothing against poets or stray dogs, but let’s get serious.

In said organic supermarket the other day, I ran into a local gringo writer and publisher I hadn’t seen in quite a while. He looked damned good for being as old as I am, and I hoped it worked the other way. I told him we’d been looking at a foreclosed house out in the desert but passed on it because it just wasn’t “us,” and the first thing he asked was, “Is the sagebrush tall enough to stand behind?” (You may safely infer this is a virtue.) I immediately understood and told him no, adding that a man ought to be able to go out in his own yard and pee. I do in our driveway most days, though I do have to keep an eye out for the mail lady and Seventh Day Adventists. On the subject of housing in general, he allowed as how he was remodeling his garage to live in. The last I heard, he was in a little apartment in town. I knew he had a house, though, or maybe that was his wife’s, or theirs, so it could be he’s moved back on the premises, but has to live in the garage.

Meanwhile, it got up to 70°F today and for most of the morning, there wasn’t any wind. This is always kind of magical, especially since we only get a minute or two like that and then it’s winter again. I haven’t put up the hummingbird feeders yet, and if I procrastinate just a little bit, I can leave them right where they are out back under a tarp and skip the whole thing. But today I needed to be outside.

After feeding the birds and wandering around looking for excuses to stay in the sun, I remembered how I wanted to order a bluetooth FM transmitter for my truck so I could play music from my phone real loud. The saxophonist I bought the Dodge from in Santa Fe replaced the original stereo speakers with high-zoot Crutchfield replacement units and the sound is memorable, so this is important. The problem was, I didn’t think the little FM transmitter would fit where I wanted it to go, and so I had to measure. Measuring the clearance of something you don’t even have is kind of a trick, but I am clever when I need to be. Going back and forth to the house for things like a ruler, my phone, etc., etc. gave me even more time outside on the warm brown driveway sand that reminded me of a beach. I even checked the oil and inspected the air cleaner to stretch things out.

Almost got the hang of this now. Almost.

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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  

  • Jim Journeyman April 27, 2019, 8:26 AM

    Here in Seco I put my feeders up last week & the yard has been filled with hummies since.

    A flush saved is a flush earned with these old septic tanks around here.

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