Attending Western Writers of America conference, Tucson, Arizona

Compadres!

I am attending the Western Writers of America conference in Tucson, Arizona, 19 June 2019–22 June 2019.

Please see my author’s website at http://jackmatthews.net.

You may also drop me a line at matthewsranch@msn.com.

Thanks,

Jack

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Midnight Star Ladder

“Midnight Star Ladder,” David Gary Suazo, ca. 2018, Collection of Wendy and Charles Needham

The table of six at Ojo Verde Inn began to eat their food and those facing Paseo de Norte looked out of the window next to the street and saw eighteen wheelers carrying logs from fresh cuts in the Carson National Forest. Snow had frozen to the bark of the fresh cut logs…. Those at the table that faced away from the street glanced upward at vigas in the ceiling and at artwork for sale on the wall. The prices for artwork of local Ojo Verde artists were priced to sell and the Pinion-Buttermilk Pancake woman eyed the brilliantly-hued painting of the Tulona Pueblo….

“I will buy that painting and make a place for it in my living room,” the Pinon-Buttermilk Pancake woman said to herself. When brunch was over, she went to the front desk of the Ojo Verde Inn, and out of her billfold she carefully placed seven-hundred dollars on the counter, buying the painting outright. As time went on in her life, she never regretted the purchase and her children rotated the painting amongst themselves after she died…. The Pinon-Buttermilk Pancake woman gave an additional tip to her server at the Inn because she wanted to remember and enlarge the morning at brunch as a generous morning, a time punctuated with giving, and with art.

An excerpt from the novel by Jack Matthews, The Red Aspens.

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King’s Manassa Turquoise

King’s Manassa Turquoise (photo by Jack Matthews)

Some of my current writing involves turquoise extracted from mines close to Taos, New Mexico. I purchased this 25 carat piece of turquoise that came from the King’s Manassa mine near Manassa, Colorado, that is just over the border from New Mexico north of Taos. The lapidary had begun to polish the turquoise and I bought it in this unfinished, but impressive, state. It was not expensive in its unrefined state. The provenance was documented by the jeweler at the lapidary in Taos. Notice the golden matrix (not gold, the color gold) and slightly greenish cast along with the cerulean blue. The Manassa mine is not worked anymore. It was originally a mining site by Ancestral Pueblo peoples. L.P. King in 1890 found stone hammers and mallets about the site. King’s descendants still own the claim on private land.

The purchase of this King’s Manassa turquoise is an object of inspiration for my writing, like an old photograph or piece of music that is played. I think you know what I am writing about, don’t you? When you write a letter or email to a close friend, do you not have a photograph to remind you of your connection?

I have a close friend in Amarillo, Texas, who is in poor health, but when I write him, I have in front of me a group picture of us (with other friends) to remind me of when we were young and robust and had years (we hoped) in front of us.

So it is with this blue-green turquoise with golden matrix that is placed to the left of my word processor when I write of northern New Mexico mining claims. The stone helps me start thinking. Below is a photograph from Joe Dan Lowry and Joe P. Lowry, Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide, that shows King’s Manassa turquoise in jeweled splendor.

From Joe Dan Lowry and Joe P. Lowry, Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide (photo by Jack Matthews)

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Sage to Meadow Shalakos and a little more news

Shalakos and Mudheads, Pop Chalee, Taos Pueblo, Ca. 1930. Exhibit at Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico. Photo by Jack Matthews.

Pop Chalee’s Shalakos and Mudheads is a large painting, about eight feet in length. I saw this painting a few months ago. I’m not for sure it is still on exhibit. You need to email or call to find out if it is still displayed. I am currently in Taos and may go to the museum today.

I retired from teaching in 2015 at Cisco College. I had been teaching college students since 1965, starting as graduate assistant at Texas A&M.

Currently, I am conducting research and writing historical monographs relating to acequias and Old Spanish metrics of measurement in the 16th and 17th centuries as applied to explorations in New Mexico.

I am also writing fiction and have an accumulation of finished short stories as well as some longer pieces.

I spend a lot of time writing and conducting research in Fort Worth, Texas, and Taos, New Mexico.

When I can I will post photographs and posts on Sage to Meadow.

Several ceremonies are scheduled at Taos Pueblo over the next few weeks. Consult their website for more information.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

–Jack

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Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel – The New York Times

My understanding is that federal land that is designated “monument status” is closed to extraction of natural resources.  Reducing federal land protection with monument designation of this scale (two million acres) is abominable.

Is it oil, minerals or a combination of that and other uses (housing, golf courses) that propel this change?

The resignation of the National Parks Panel brings public awareness to the exploitation of natural resources.

I read the other day in The New York Times that some political awareness group of the left or center-left has a group of 180,000 or so individuals that will go to a protest site to demonstrate.  The protests were of issues NOT dealing with land use, monuments, federal land protection.

I would sign on to protest issues dealing with saving forests, rivers, land from corporate exploitation.  I would pay my own way anywhere in the United States to protest the exploitation as demonstrated in this article.

The advisory panel has shown light on the problem with the Trump administration’s land policies.

Sitting Bull often walked barefoot on the earth at dawn in the morning.

“And in December, the administration reduced the size of two national monuments in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, by some two million acres, the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.”

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Truchas Peaks, New Mexico

 

Truchas Peaks near Mora Pass

Looking westward toward the Truchas Peaks, New Mexico, November 2017.

I have been traveling to Taos, New Mexico, several times in the past year.  I stop at this spot near Mora Pass that is up in altitude from Sipapu Lodge in order to look back at the mountains before I head down the Mora Pass to Holman, Cleveland, Mora, and Las Vegas.  The valley you see in the foreground is the starting valley and surrounds for Rio Pueblo that flows eventually into the Rio Grande near Embudo.

I have climbed two of the three Truchas Peaks, encountering Bighorn sheep on the trail to the summit.  I was in my twenties when I climbed; now I am seventy-five years old and I stop and look back on the mountains and my life, the near and the faraway.

Lately, within the last few weeks, I have seen near my home in Fort Worth the most beautiful coyote poised and stationary alongside the Chisholm Trail Tollway, its coat shiny and tail bushy and full.  In my frontyard, two racoons ambled by and climbed into the trees.  A bluejay in the neighborhood warns others of my approach as I walkabout.  At my Far Field near Mingus, Texas (the source of most of my posts on this blog), I have heard the Sandhill Cranes in the sky, but failed to see them catch the thermals.  But, I hear them.  I see the turned soil of wild hogs in my field, the voles that run away from my tractor when I shred mesquite.  When I was in Lubbock at Thanksgiving I heard and saw flocks of Canadian geese in the air and along the playas of the region.

Magpies fly across the backyard of my daughter’s home in Taos.

I am looking and I see the wild on this earth.  I am having a conversation with the wild.  And, I listen so attentively and look so closely that I am beginning to grieve as I never had before.

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Berries and birds

I am almost, but not completely, compelled to camp next to this chokecherry (?) tree in my front yard to watch the birds (juncos, etc.) strip the tree and come back time and time again.

Last year I saw the flock of birds that stripped the tree and identified them, but I did not write down my observations, so, here I go again and I will record this time.

I write this nature post and I do not have either bird or berry tree identified. But, so, I adore berry and bird regardless.

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El Camino Real: Picuris-Talpa-Taos

Arroyo Miranda, the final leg of El Camino Real looking south towards Picuris. This photo taken on the outskirts of Talpa, near Taos, New Mexico, April 18,2017.

This photo is framed for a historical record.  It is not a pretty picture per se , but accurate as to the Royal Road from Mexico City northward to Santa Fe, the pueblos, and Taos.

According to Spanish documents, this final part of the Royal Road leading to Taos went from Trampas to Picuris Pueblo, slightly east to Vadito, then up Telephone Canyon around Picuris Peak, and then connecting with the Arroyo Miranda, traversing the east side of the arroyo.  The above photograph is looking south, up towards the Picuris Peak area.  Lying behind me is Talpa that is close to Rancho de Taos and Taos.

The map below indicates the route into Rancho de Taos.  Note Telephone Canyon, Arroyo Miranda, Rancho de Taos, and Taos.

Carson National Forest Map, 2017.

The following are my field notes from the trip, showing the route as I described.

Jack Matthews Field Notes, April 18, 2017.

The El Camino Real is only partially open to public transit through the Carson National Forest.  The final leg is on private land and closed to public transit.  The Royal Road, however, can be followed within two miles of Talpa and one can sidestep to SH 518 and hike into Taos.

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Acequia alongside road to Dixon, New Mexico

Last September I attended a water association meeting in Penasco, New Mexico.  The acequia photographed above is one of several thousand water ditches and collateral offshoots in New Mexico.  This ditch alongside the road to Dixon, New Mexico, is not a part of the water association at Penasco although the two towns are close together and divert off of the Embudo Watershed.

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Merry Christmas 

Snow on the west side of the Ranchos de Taos St. Francis Church is in the photograph above–although I am sure everyone recognizes the church. It snowed about five inches this morning. Junipers and piñon hold snow.  The sun will come out and warm us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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