Hot Rod Anima Dream

Hot Rod Anima Dream post image

Seventeen years in this place, no wonder we’re going mad. The elms are eating the house, the spider webs and dust are eating me. We did all right for a long time: it used to rain, there were gardens, I even cut the grass—which means at least there was some. Now everything is weird and crispy. Somewhere in that time frame, everybody died: parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, a couple siblings, two cats, old friends back in Maryland, even our very own landlord. (He lived on the other side of the wall.) Be that as it may, a lot of things have been in suspended animation since forever. I wish whatever scuttles away with a rustle-clonk in the bathroom late at night were one of them, but this is New Mexico and that wouldn’t be right. There needs to be a thing that pulls you under so you see the light.

The other night I dreamed a saga in four acts. Behold the power of the Void!

I’m on a newly-paved road near a city. The asphalt dark, still oily, with a splash of gravel on the edge that hasn’t been swept up. It’s raining just enough that all of this is wet. I’m trying to gun whatever car I’m driving off the sloping bare dirt shoulder up onto the road. The drive wheels spin, the engine falters. Traffic goes by in both directions, all I can do is look.

Then comes the bottom of a muddy ditch. It’s deep and has a v-shaped profile. Again the problem is proceeding. The mud is soft enough to take a footprint and almost wet enough to splash. How to make my way along? Somehow I’m now standing on a quilt or blanket, puffy like an unrolled sleeping bag. Aha, I think, I’ll just shuffle up the ditch on top of this, which works for several steps, and then I see the front end of the thing has gotten wet and soggy. I fold it over toward me, useless exercise—the magic carpet isn’t going anywhere. And while I have the vaguest sense of wraith-like figures in the ditch behind me, it’s really only me there, all alone.

I lift my head and take a long gaze upward. The ditch is deeper than I am tall, too bad, but even worse, it now goes all the way up the side of a barren brown dirt mountain, rising high and steep into the clouds. Even if I could make it all the way, I’d end up dead or useless from exhaustion. I stand there for a moment, letting the image burn itself onto my brain.

I’m in a residential neighborhood in a kind of funky mountain town you might see in Colorado, after sunset. Frame houses with little porches crowded up against the curbless sidewalk, vehicles parked alongside, here and there some folks around. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. Although the sun has set, there’s a brilliant strip of blue between the clouds and the horizon. A small group, maybe six or seven, crowds around a low-slung custom car and melt away as I approach. Hey look at that, I tell myself, a ‘37 Ford—which may be true—deep orange-red with flaring fenders and a chromed V-8. I’m standing there in front, admiring how smooth and solid the whole package is, when I notice someone in the front seat waving to me: a pretty blonde lady in a cowboy shirt and jeans, beckoning me over to the driver’s door. Who am I to argue?

This really is a hot rod. The “suicide door” opens from the front edge. She scootches over enough for me to sit a little bit inside, quite excited for me to see this. The interior is completely customized with shiny chrome-rimmed dials and lights. The most astonishing thing, however, is what I now perceive to be a wrap-around windshield that curves around and blends into the window glass. There are no A-pillars. Just a beautiful, seamless sweep of blue-tinted glass that glows against the twilight. I’ve never seen anything like it and can’t imagine how that’s done. I don’t recall the words she spoke or even if she did (telepathy?), but somehow I knew that she had driven this machine a long, long way to get here. I realize the privilege of her sharing this and that no one else but me has sat inside.

Once again I’m in the mountains, this time with my wife. Northern New Mexico where we live in real life, high and cold and clean. It’s winter now. The mountains are stupendous, the sky a brilliant blue, the clouds so white and sharp it looks like they could cut you. Everything is covered with snow, deep fluffy powder you can walk through even though it’s deep. We’re heading for the car to go to town, supposedly, misled by the weather report because it suddenly starts to snow again. Huge white flakes, in fact, a heavy squall, although the sky is bright. This isn’t at the old adobe. We’re pushing through the snow to reach a sidewalk where the cars are stashed—no sidewalks in our current neighborhood, of course.

Across the valley a huge white cloud is whipping by. “Hey, look at that,” I yell, “how fast it’s moving!” As we watch, it slows down, almost stops, and dumps an enormous pile of snow that lands with a whoomph, and then the cloud accelerates again! I’m happy and excited. Magic weather, magic landscape, no fear…

Every word I’ve written here is true. (That Buick’s not the same as in the dream, but carries a similar energy.) I think everyone should pay attention to their dreams. No one but you can know just what they mean. I still walk around with images in my head of dreams I had 50 years ago, powerful, archetypal, technicolor sonsabitches. This one comes at an important time. Maybe something resonated with you. Maybe not.

Though people are not always eager to recognize conflicts that are upsetting their lives, dreams are always at work trying to tell of the conflict, and of the creative fantasy that will lead the way out. – C.G. Jung

Crazy Wild & Busted

Lobo Peak


“Welcome to the valley,” Ricky Medina said when we signed up for a post office box. We had no idea what we were getting into. At that time, San Cristobal had the only legal water system in the entire United States that operated without a treatment facility: just pure water piped into a small number of homes from San Cristobal Creek high up in the mountains. Oh God. Almost 8,000 ft up with 90 mile views to the west. Mostly Hispanic with a few Anglo hippies, artists, and professionals who liked their privacy. A scattering of trailers and adobe houses up and down the two dirt roads. Wretched barking dogs. Elk bugling in the fall and running through deep powder snow illuminated in our headlight beams. Bears, coyotes, golden eagles, hawks, and prairie dogs. The occasional mountain lion. Hummingbirds that flew inside through unscreened windows for me to catch with my bare hands. Stars that strobed instead of twinkled. Bulls in the driveway, rats in the attic…

WHOA! Apologies, you’ll have to read this one at my Substack. There are just too many photos to make it work here. While you’re there, you might as well subscribe. If you do, it downloads in your email, formatted perfectly for phones and iPads. – JHF

Message from the Boss

yours truly

Not a bad life. Resophonic bouzouki, cool hat, new glasses, wahoo.

Yes, that’s me. Just wanted to explain what’s going on here with the new “Photo Blog” category you see above under the post header. I’m a creature of habit. Most of the time, I “save” photos for essays, upload them to my Smugmug gallery, or spontaneously post them on Twitter. So if your only contact with my writing or artwork is this website, you miss most of my photos if I’m not writing essays. Site traffic also falls off, fans get pissed, and I feel bad. So from here on out, I’ll fill in the gaps once in a while.

Here’s what I recommend:

• Subscribe to JHFARR.COM, of course, from the form at the bottom of any page. You’ll receive an email reminder whenever I update the site.

• If you’re mostly here for the photos, you really ought to visit my Smugmug site on a regular basis. (You can even buy them there.)

• Besides those, you really need to sign up for my GODDAMN BUFFALO (no, really) newsletter at Substack. What I’m really doing is cross-posting most new writing there and here. But when you subscribe there, you’ll get an email with the entire post and photos formatted perfectly for mobile devices, so you don’t even have to visit the website. In addition, there will be Substack posts that don’t lend themselves to cross-posting here, so that’s where you want to be sure you don’t miss anything.

It also has a completely different tone. The UI (user interface) lends itself to that and I’m all for it. Right now I’m republishing a number of selected Top Posts from here, though with additional photos, as well as new material. By now this is probably all clear as mud, so just visit the “What Is GODDAMN BUFFALO?” page to learn more.

Carry on and good luck.

Memorial Day 3

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Self-explanatory but no less special. Two and a half weeks ago we were all alone on a holiday in this magnificent space and cool clean air. The very reason we left friends and home in Maryland 20 years ago, to experience more of this amazing Earth while still inside these bodies. No, really. That’s why. Onward!

Memorial Day 2

Memorial Day 2 post image

Rio Grande Gorge in foreground, river far below. Photo taken just inside the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument from Cerro in northern Taos County. That’s Ute Mountain in the distance, 10,093 feet high. The extinct volcano is over two million years old. Dig it.