Life in Ranchos

Ranchos de Taos scene

Pavement covered by dried mud & gravel washed down by storm two days ago

They fixed the blinking red light in Ranchos. Good call. Yesterday traffic was backed up to the light at the top of the hill. It’s funny how people don’t seem to know what to do when that happens. I’ve noticed that turning right on red has fallen by the wayside, too. Lost knowledge from the late 20th century?

Speaking of days gone by, we drove over the 8,500 foot mountain pass just south of here to see a house yesterday about 30 minutes from town. For sale by owner, who wasn’t there, but he told me in an email to feel free to walk around. There was a beautiful 100-year-old territorial adobe on three acres with water rights, an old adobe barn converted to an art gallery, a two-stall stable, a genuine adobe chicken coop, you name it. Huge apple trees in the front yard, tall lilacs beside the house. The abuela vibe was strong. So was the highway noise through the privacy fence. My wife was badly smitten and still is. I liked it well enough except for the cars shooting by at 40 miles per hour and wondered why we needed the two-acre field if we had no horses. But this is the kind of place we had in Maryland.

Everywhere I looked, there was something to mow or rake or fix. I’d like that kind of work a lot more if time weren’t getting short. Suddenly I understood why so many retirees were happy with their fake adobes in the sagebrush. Back down here in Taos in the terrible high desert, all I’d have to do was walk out to the porch, wipe the dust off my chair, and sit down with my laptop. (“We don’ got to show you no steenking tractor.”)

My heart is with the green grass, apple trees, and lilacs. My head’s with the 90-mile view.

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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  

  • GS September 11, 2019, 1:01 PM

    The dilemma here is that to avoid what you don’t like about where you currently are requires moving to where you don’t like what you’d be getting.

    • JHF September 11, 2019, 3:56 PM

      Hi George! There are all kinds of dilemmas. I’m a freaking dilemma, so fear of one kind or another is the true ball bearing in the oatmeal. I know what the answer is.

  • GS September 11, 2019, 4:10 PM

    I kid you not John, I have moved more than 40 times in my life since I got out of the military, after Viet Nam. In the U.S. and outside. It’s been an adventure, good and bad. But I’ve never found out what I’m looking for, or running from. I’ll be 70 in October and I’m trying to find out what staying put does. That’s the plan anyway.

    • JHF September 11, 2019, 6:48 PM

      Did you move a lot before Vietnam? I moved at least 40 times before I graduated from high school. Air Force brat. Some of those were within the same town (like the 5 moves in 4 years in Abilene, TX) but still: new school, always the new kid in class. Since then I’ve lived in Texas, Arkansas, Texas, Maine, Maryland, and now New Mexico. Just a bit older than you. MD was the longest I ever lived anywhere (25 years, 5 moves), now 20 years here with 7 moves. So I hear you, all right.

      Seems like everybody’s dead now. Not EVERYbody, but almost. Old friends, parents, two siblings. No desire to repeat any previous location.

      • GS September 11, 2019, 10:19 PM

        My dad came to America (from Greece) when he was 16. Lived in Chicago for some time, was a musician and a cook. Probably a bootlegger too. He met my mom in Canada (her family was from Wales). Big age difference between them. They moved to Oceanside, CA. in the late 40’s.. owned a restaurant and a bar and owned their own home. Had two rentals. Big age difference between them though. They divorced when I was 14 or so. My mother then married a real loser. Drinker, child molester. Moved every year after that. I’d of been the new kid in school all that time too, if I had gone to school. Back then they used to pick you up for truancy, so I ran away a lot. My sisters escaped by marrying as soon as they could. After the military I lived in Montana, Idaho, Texas, Spain, Washington State, now New Mexico. Had been eying Greece or Cyprus, but my dad left there for a reason, and it really hasn’t changed all that much probably..

        • JHF September 11, 2019, 11:10 PM

          I read that and see I got off easy. But the dynamics are close enough for empathy.

  • GS September 11, 2019, 10:30 PM

    PS: Yeah, everyone is dead (almost). Including two sons, two younger sisters, one wife (other divorced but not dead at least). Also, no desire to return to anywhere, I’m with you on that one.

    • JHF September 11, 2019, 11:27 PM

      Never had kids. That’s heavier. Sisters shouldn’t die. What my wife and I are grappling with is no place to go “back to” even if we wanted to. Just us, which on the flip side equals opportunity. Yesterday I felt like 20, full of all the things I want to do, like I had just shed 30 pounds.

      • GS September 12, 2019, 7:53 AM

        Thanks for the conversation here John. You recognize you have freedom. I’ve found most people fear that the most. Good luck with your decision. You have a great woman to share life with. I miss that.

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