Tag Archives: Taos

A magic time

Life really DID seem to be a fairytale.  I was living with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known, in an old magic adobe house, just above the river.  Our road would take you down along our river, through its canyon, until you reached the John Dunn Bridge on the Rio Bravo.  Our Rio Hondo joined the Bravo just below that bridge.

I painted two of the best things I’ve ever done during that period.

I learned that magpies are not all they’re cracked up to be, though watching them frequently cracked me up!

Arroyo Hondo Community Center

I’d never experienced anything like the singularities we had in that relationship, or the  “matched hearts and minds” we had.  I’d never met anyone even remotely like her.  It was certain I’d found my “soulmate”.  She stunned me and said she felt the same way.

Right by the sign that says, “Beware of Rattlesnakes”
Poplar logs left on the truck bed to dry/cure
Right down the street from our old house.

She took me camping and re-introduced me to outdoor life.  She insisted on certain diet constraints.  When I followed her example I felt better.  When I listened to her and followed her lead, I was healthier.

What a spectacular and precious spot! We had this entire alpine meadow to ourselves. Prettiest place on Earth.
Mia holds off the impending stampede!
Our awesome campsite next to the Rio Costilla
House at Hondo
Where I lived with her almost a year on the Rio Hondo north of Taos. The adobe structure is over 100 years old.

She taught me to cook better food with less; to split logs with an axe and heat our home with a wood fire; to compost and to do all our laundry as simply and contentedly as possible, then hang it to dry outdoors.

I don’t know if we would have survived as a couple, had I not had an alcohol relapse, but I’d like to believe we might have.  I’ve never felt more in love or more admiration/respect for a partner.

I did so many wrong things to her ,though, and behaved so badly around her, I now owe her a huge debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay.

I used her to feel good about myself – when my whole life had fallen apart.  I told her I was a non-smoker then immediately started smoking when I felt secure with her.   I was frustrated and angry over the way my life had played over the last few years, and I directed much of that frustration and anger at her.  I abused her, and the beautiful setting of her home – a wonderful, clean, natural and spiritual place – to consummate a crash into depression and relapse of my alcoholism.  Last Winter was the worst thing, the worst terror and behavior, the worst darkness of my alcoholism; a time when I was 100% out of character and lost – manipulative, mean and dishonest.  I am not proud of, and will always regret, the way I treated my soulmate – a gift from God whom I abused horribly.

My biggest amends to her is to simply stay sober and stay out of her life.

She taught me things about the world and the wilderness that I’ve since relied on.  I’ve since gone out to the high mountains with little more than my tent, sleeping bag, and small stove.  She showed me how.

But I will never see her again.

When it starts to really hurt, this stuff about my son, and I start to cry, she is the one I first think of – the one I most wish was in the room.  The next several months, without her help and guidance, may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done by myself.

That’s just how I feel.  People tell me to just say what I feel and stop – before I go adding language, logic and persuasion.

The Dalai Lama has said, “contented abiding is our highest form of meditation.”  I have practiced this and know it to be true.  It’s hard to feel contented, though, when you’re abiding the disintegration and death of you child.

 

Past blogs and posts

I’ve been posting on my other blog, bahfish.com, since early in the Summer; but I’ve come back to post here as it’s the blog where most of my family & friends look for updates.  I’ve had this blog running for nearly ten years.  I know there are some broken links and problems with images over the last two years so I will work to get those corrected.

“Love & Tolerance” is our code.

 

Northbound Again

Like the Dire Straits song but reverse the direction.

Leaving tomorrow or Friday for a week in the North country, mainly the headwaters of the Costilla River (right on the Colorado border) and the Blanca Peak wilderness area.  I’ve looked at Blanca Peak in awe, studied all the maps, and decided the best place to camp is accessible from the NE side (adding another 3 hours of driving).

My good friends, Debbie and Debi, will be joining us for the last few days of the adventure.  My best friend and sometimes nurse, Lysa, will be riding shotgun for the whole trip.

So how does a guy like me survive two nights in a freakin’ tent with three good-lookin’ women?  I’m thinkin’ the best way is to go to bed earlier than all my wild girlfriends, get settled, and make grunting noises when they bring all that girlpower into the space.  If that doesn’t work, then I go sleep in the car with the doors locked!

I’ve made two bamboo bobber rigs, and I’ve been practicing with my fly rod since April, so I’m gonna go terrorize those wild trout in the Northern Sangres!  All the fish I’ve seen up on the Costilla are really too small to eat; but the little monsters will be fun to catch & release!

Gotta stop in to see friends, too, in Taos and Arroyo Hondo; then the best AA meeting in New Mexico at Questa.  We’re going to hit the little club at San Luis, too.

Yayyy!  Finally going to the high country where it’s cool and we can experience a high-mountain thunderstorm!!!

Sadly I became such a worthless and arrogant prick, before I moved back South from Taos, most of my friends in the Taos area don’t even want to speak to me.

I no longer have the luxury of thinking I might never drink again; but two things give me much hope:  (a) I’ve never submerged myself to this degree in the honesty and humility of working our steps; and (b) I don’t have a lot of time left.  I don’t need to worry about staying sober for years.  Just today.  Just enough.

I want to die sober and surrounded by my loving, caring and TRUE family.  I can attain that.  Not so much to aspire to, based on the condition of my heart; but I’m 77 days sober and totally on fire with my own quirky step-driven spirituality.

Constant and persistent prayers for those of my past whom I have hurt or caused harm.  You are the most important people in my life, the ones to whom I owe the greatest debt of gratitude.

Que se vaya la paz contigo.

 

 

 

Meanwhile in Taos…

Kalya Scintilla played Saturday night at the Startribe music festival on Taos Mesa – and his show was excellent!  The whole Startribe experience was an ideal introduction, for me, to the local scene.  Playing music outdoors here is complicated by our infamous wind (especially out on the mesa!), but I thought the sound system was up to the task.  We were on our feet wigglin’ for nearly all of Scintilla’s set.

I was pleased to see so many splendid dancers live in the community, and thrilled by all the fire dancing and poi!

There was a cool mystic quality, too, in the full moon on all the surrounding snow-capped mountains and the fires & lights on the desert.  A strangely peaceful, surreal, and spiritual experience!

I have to be back in Bernalillo next week for a few days, namely to pick up a car, then will complete my move to the house here on the Rio Hondo.  Our weather is becoming much prettier, though we’re having little rain showers in the afternoons which remind me more of the weather we expect here in Fall; but the late mornings and midday hours have gotten warm & sunny.

Much to the chagrin of locals, we’ve been named the most scenic place in the state by online travel guides; and, sure enough, there’s been an increase in foreigner sightings.  I’m inspired to spend a lot of this Summer with the cameras and recorders to capture what I can of the place before more development occurs!

Like I said, it still gets cool in the afternoons and pretty darned cold at night; so I’ve not traded the axe for a fly rod just yet!  Still gotta keep enough wood cut to run the stove at night – though we’ve had a few nights without it these last two weeks.

The wonderful things I’m discovering about living in Taos are coming to constitute a rather long list!  I definitely like the music and dance scene, the peace-first attitude of all the local starchildren, the spiritual communities that converge so well in such a spectacular place, the availability of outstanding organic food at the local market, and the sheer magnificence of the wild surrounding country!  We’re only half an hour from access points to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area, ten miles from the peak itself, and very close to Red River and Eagle Nest.  We’ve made some good trips already – mainly out on the West mesa and in the Rio Grande Gorge itself around the John Dunn crossing – but we’re really itchin’ to pack up the camping gear and disappear into the hills!

Sheesh!  Between painting, taking photos, playing and recording music, fishing, camping, pokin’ around in the mountains, going to raves, and simply participating in a really cool community, I am going to have a busy Summer!

 

 

Alive in Chamisaville!

It’s like a dream come true to be able to say, “I live in Taos.”

But now I do!

Taos is one of 3-4 places in the US where I’ve traditionally driven out of town wondering, “Why am I leaving?”  So it’s soooo awesome to finally live here!

I actually live in a small community outside Taos on the Rio Hondo. It’s not far, though.  Everyone works and shops in Taos.

Based on the characters I’ve seen or met so far, this little community is a dead ringer for Chamisaville in John Nichols’ New Mexico Trilogy!  Very cool!

While Taos is a beautiful and historic place, it’s really the Taoseño culture that’s drawn me to live here. It’s almost an underground culture, in that visitors see mainly a tourism-driven community of shops, inns and restaurants; but behind the scenes, there’s a wonderful community of people who live by the same drop-out starchild values that I do.  And unlike the rest of the state, the spanish-speaking people here answer me in spanish!

A few other things I’ve noticed:  lots of genuine artists living close to the edge on solely the proceeds from their art; there are magpies all over the place and they really ARE drawn to investigate shiny objects; Cid’s market is way better than Sprouts or TJ’s; there are more charitable organizations per capita than anywhere I’ve ever lived, and if you want to keep your house warm you better know how to operate an axe!  Oh, and the pecan sticky buns at Michael’s Bakery are to die for!…

The most significant reasons for choosing to live in Taos, though, are spiritual reasons.  There is a strong sense of love, tolerance and generosity in the community – and a remarkable feeling that Taoseños share my values.  The same types of young people I find at raves down in Albuquerque – starkids who’ve abandoned mainstream culture and run for the hills.  Plenty of people who don’t vote, could care less about politics or government, and who feel real change occurs at a grassroots local/personal level.  A strong sense of “we” being far more important than “me”.  I have to admit, too, that I feel a pronounced sense of spiritual retreat when I’m home on the Rio Hondo.

And when you live in Taos you quickly learn to avoid that damn stoplight east of the plaza!  In fact you learn to stay off the main thoroughfare through town entirely!  Traffic at that main stoplight is how we know there are lots of foreigners in town!

But I’m duly impressed by the demarcation between the Taos which tourists see and the actual community of Taos.  Peace.  We either live by our values or we don’t.  I’ve found that, home on the Rio Hondo, we live by our values.

Here are some pictures….