Tag Archives: Taos Community College

Book released! Jack Matthews, Death at La Osa: A Pueblo Tribal Police Mystery, Sunstone Press, December 21, 2021

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

To all my Sage to Meadow followers! I have a novel of nature with a murder mystery! Or, a mystery novel set deeply in nature!

I am so happy to announce the Sunstone Press release of my novel, Death at La Osa: A Pueblo Tribal Police Mystery! Available on Amazon, B&N, independent bookstores!

Dendrite turquoise as written about in book.
Back cover of Death at La Osa

I am pleased that Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, has published my first novel in a series, Death at La Osa. I am currently editing my second novel, Arroyo of Shells (title tentative), and finishing the third in the series, The Cave of the Infinite Symbol.

You may order via https://bookshop.org/shop/jackmatthews (Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You also contribute to a local, independent bookstore of your choice when you use Bookshop.org.) If you order through Amazon, you can use the smile.amazon.com to contribute 0.5 % of your purchase to a charity of your choice. Also order, conventionally, through Amazon and B&N websites.

See my Author Page on WordPress: https://jackmatthews.net for more information, book signings, and presentations.

In front of MoMo’s Shop, Taos, New Mexico, December 21, 2021


Filed under Adventure, Christmas, Deer, Horses, Juniper, Life in Balance, Nature Writers, Nature Writing Series, New Mexico, Taos

Nature, Sage to Meadow, and my novel

Hopi-tended corn plants. Photo relayed by Kiara Shanice, FB post, 2020

To all my Sage to Meadow followers! I am pleased to announce to you the Jack Matthews, PhD, Author Page for my novels.

So much of my blogging on Sage to Meadow–in fact, nearly all of it–concerns humanity’s relationship to nature on a concrete level: grasses, birds, water, sky, trees, flowers.

I continue those themes on my Author Page.

As I have written in My About page on Sage to Meadow, “What I seek to accomplish in Sage to Meadow blog is to write about nature, wild and domesticated living things, people that live with the land and the constant cycles of the seasons that envelop our lives.” In novelistic form, I will continue working with those themes. For example, here is a quote from Death at La Osa, my first novel of the River Who Knows? cycle.

“Quail Looks Away set her pails down and attended the words as best she could understand.  A sudden wind blew dust across the plaza and stirred the cottonwood trees along the river, the leaves rattling softly when green and luscious and filled with moisture.  Yellowed leaves fell with the wind.  Soon all cottonwood leaves would turn yellow, falling in the stream and collecting along the banks.  Quail would swish away the leaves with her hand to get un-leaved water for her kitchen.  Rio Tulona was also called Rio Cottonwood, for along its banks, leaves carpeted the ground.”

I think you can see how I have carried the themes of Sage to Meadow over to my Author Page.

Please take a moment and visit my Author Page and look at Chapter 1 of the novel, Death at La Osa, set in northern New Mexico with its desert mesas and high country of the Sangre de Cristos and Tusas Mountains. Sign up for the Author Page and get new posts and the news.

Best wishes,


Rio Pueblo at Palo Flechado Campground. Photo by Jack Matthews, 2013.

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Noise and relativity

Felled tree in Corral No. 1 (May 2011).

In north Erath County, Texas, the south wind blew fiercely yesterday, its force bending high-grass seed tops to the ground in the arena pasture.  The sound of wind roughly soughing through live oak trees never let up during the day.  The temperature eased back to 93 degrees and I worked in the afternoon cutting down a split tree that threatened to topple onto a stable.  I chopped a large notch into the tree, lassoed the upper body of the tree with a lariat, tied a knot on the trailer hitch of the Case DX-55, pulled and brought the split tree down.  My step-father used the same axe as I did, chopping cedar and brush in Mills County, eighty-miles away and fifty-years ago.

A barn cat that I have not befriended — yet — watched from the stable while I worked out the physics of felling the tree.  Star fled from his feeding bin only when the tree fell, returning quickly to finish his block of coastal bermuda once the noise subsided.  Sweat stung my eyes and I opened up my shirt to cool as I sat in the shade of the barn alleyway, the high wind funneling through the alleyway more rapidly than in the corral.  The barn cat had eased his way into the hay and tools area, away from the wind.

I will clean up the tree debris in the corral today.

* * *

Deer and possibly quail returned to the far field, the Pecan Tree Pasture.  One reason is that mechanized noise has lessened in their habitat.  It is quieter.

My neighbors to the southeast, the Halls, are selling their home, stables and workshop.  Since they are dividing their time between here and Squaw Mountain near Throckmorton, much farther north of here, their off-road motor vehicles are silenced and they mow less frequently.  They do not fire pistols in training their horses to become accustomed to the noise.  To the west of me, on the Dooley place, the nephew has not target practiced in the adjacent pasture for several months.  And, finally, on my southern boundary the Old Bryant place, the deer stands and blinds have mostly been removed, only one remains.  I see deer browsing between my southern pastures and the pond, and on to a second healthy pond on the Blue place, to my east.  Blue takes care of his ailing mother and my rural route mail carrier sits with Blue’s mother so that he might go on errands or to church.  His place, his mother’s place, is quiet next to mine.

I labor under no illusion.  The noise might start again and the deer will flee.  I have no control over my neighbor’s behavior until my nose is bloodied or bone breaks.  I shall tend to my pastures and fields and allow all that is natural grow and browse.  The deer have not re-surged to levels six-years ago, but the deer are back.  The fawn prances again in the Grove.  The noise of mechanized activity, of gun powder and metal clanging has abated.  For now.

* * *

Several years ago, I almost purchased a place in northern New Mexico, up above Llano that bordered the Kit Carson National Forest.  The fifteen acres or so nestled up against an acequia that brought water to narrow fields below.  I envisioned building a small home, barn and corrals for horses.  A trail ascended into the national forest and I could ride Star for hours, even days into groves of aspen and high country meadows.  I did not buy the land.  I have no regrets for there are places like that near Taos and Rodarte still for sale.  If the need be, I will find them and resettle away from the clang of metal.

* * *

So much is relative; maybe all things are.  I am content that deer return, but in Australia the deer in places have populated so densely that the land is overgrazed and crops cannot be planted.  Yesterday, despite my focus on machine noise, I used a Case DX-55 tractor to pull down the split tree and a Stihl chainsaw to cut the trunk and limbs.  If I had continued to use my step-father’s axe, I would have had to soak the handle for the blade was loose.

Then, if I had moved to the high country of northern New Mexico, I would have the beauty of the land and resonance of diverse cultures, but jobs are few and the winters are bitter cold.  Yet, I could counter the cold with propane and wood, axe and chainsaw, sharpening files and good caulking about the quarters.

Ill fares the land?  No, not yet.


Filed under Life in Balance, Taos