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.
Tag Archives: Taos New Mexico
Norman Clyde taught, read, guided mountain climbs and rescues. “Norman Clyde still guided parties into the Sierra into the 1960s, when he was in his seventies. In the 1950s and 1960s, he lived by himself at the old Baker ranch-house on Baker Creek near Big Pine. Because he was trained in the classics, Norman Clyde loved to read books in Latin and Greek. At the Baker ranch-house, Clyde had thousands of rare classical books. At age 80, he was still sleeping outside the ranch-house on a mattress and sleeping bag, as long as it was fair weather.”
The above photograph on the cover of the magazine, Climbing, I have kept since a friend of mine, Mark Garlin, gave me the magazine in 1972. Norman Clyde died later that year, December, 1972, at the age of 87. I have kept the magazine at my ready shelf since that time because of my love of climbing mountains and the presence of strength and fortitude in Clyde’s face and posture. Despite age, he has tools of his love and trade beside him: rope, ice axe, and rucksack.
When I have climbed mountains by way of trail and path, not rope nor ice axe, I have met young and old, educated and not, rich and poor, and men and women who love the outdoors and the challenge of a good climb. Without fail, those that are on the trail take an interest in the columbine and rushing waters and all the conifers in high country. Oh, the trees: ponderosa pine, spruce, juniper, pinion. There is learning in the austere mountain trail that is both external and internal. In the external, one sees and usually identifies geological formations, the topography, the magpies and jays, and the trees. Internally, the lessons run deep and are formative, even in old age.
Norman Clyde in the photograph above was in his eighties. The perseverance in his climbing is found off the slopes in building strawbale compounds (as my good friend, Jimmy Henley, was doing at the time of his death in his seventies), performing the arts, climbing trees as a trimmer, and pursuing goals in getting a degree. If ever you think you are too old, think of Norman Clyde on the front cover, the mountains behind and the tools of his adventure about him. Clyde will climb until his body fails.
As I wrote, I keep Clyde’s photograph on my ready shelf. If he can climb at his age, I can hike and build fence and mountaineer at my age. As I climb in the high country, three questions arise: What am I doing here? What should I do? And, how do I know? The answers are simple and complex. I am hiking. I am hiking. I know I am hiking in this moment at my pace, walking among the trees, hearing birds, seeing and hearing rushing waters, touching ground, seeing the sky as I meet others on the trail. Those are my three answers. In a sense, those are everyone’s answers. Until our bodies fail. Norman Clyde, front cover, Norma Clyde, front cover….
Photograph of Norman Clyde by David Hiser.
Quote in first paragraph from Wikipedia, “Norman Clyde,” accessed Aug. 23, 2016.
The three questions in the last paragraph are derivative from my course in philosophy at University of Texas at Austin, 1961. On the Philosophy Department’s website page (at least a couple of years ago) those questions were posed in a slightly different way.
I climbed with Mark Garlin, my friend who gave me the magazine. He lectured at the Air Force Academy in the 1970s on climbing and survival in the mountains.
I send you Merry Christmas greetings from Taos, New Mexico, where I am visiting my family.
Snow falls today and Taos Mountain is obscured, yet clouds dash past and the peak emerges in sunlight.
I drove about this morning and Mass was being said at Ranchos de Taos and Old Martina’s Hall beckoned me to come in and warm myself, in time, at the bar again. I will go again.
Aspens grow high next door.
I split wood and keep the fire burning. This period of time, December 10 through January 20, is The Time for Staying Still, according to Taos Indian ceremonialism. Letting the earth renew itself is The Purpose, the reason for staying still. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Renew yourself.
I suppose we all have nested away some items, some event or photograph we cherish. I published a photograph several weeks ago on the feed bin in the far field with clouds that I had set aside in the files, but every time I came across the feed bin and clouds photograph I wanted to post it and share it with readers in the blogosphere. I present two things here with a short story line, one is the long shadows in Stall 1 of the stables, the other is an artwork of Eric Andrews of Taos, New Mexico.
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When this photograph was taken on January 28, 2011, the late afternoon shadows of the stall panels were surrounded by cold mist of a winter’s day. I was terribly sad because I had recently sold three of my prize horses at an auction in Oklahoma City, and the absence of Hija, Fanny and the foal-to-be was anguishing. The economy had gone sour and I had — through my own ineptitude — lost money on the stock market. So had other people lost money, but they had not be forced to sell their companions. I sold the horses — no small relief, to be sure — to fine people in Canada and Missouri and I was comforted in the transfer. The photograph illustrated to me the emptiness in my life at the time.
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Eric Andrews’ painting, Walking the Acequia 2, is one of his current paintings for sale and is a good example of his art. I possess one Eric Andrews painting. He and his wife own the 203 Fine Art Gallery in Taos, New Mexico. After the death of my mother in 2003, I wanted to invest my inheritance in either fine art or land. I eventually settled on buying the Flying Hat Ranchito. Before I bought the Flying Hat, however, I traveled to Taos and Santa Fe to put together an ensemble of southwestern paintings of the Taos Society of Artists — Bert Geer Phillips, Ernest L. Blumenschein, Joseph Henry Sharp, Oscar E. Berninghaus, E. Irving Couse and W. Herbert Dunton.
As I made a laundry list of the paintings I might purchase, going from art gallery to art gallery, I met Eric Andrews at the Parsons Gallery in Taos. It was an immediate friendship. I traveled to his studio out on the High Road to Taos from Santa Fe to visit with him and his wife and see their work. Although I made the decision to buy my ranchito, I bought Eric’s Vadito II that hangs over my fireplace (you can see it on the “About” page of Sage to Meadow). The painting above, Walking the Acequia 2, illustrates my acquaintance with Eric and my deep interest in all things acequia.
- LeDoux Street Art Stroll Allows Visitors to See Why Taos is Considered ‘Center of Art World’ (prweb.com)
Quail are sociable, staying together from birth to death as a covey, and when one lone quail, separated from the group, calls out plaintively, the covey circles back and joins the solitary being, bedding down all together in the evening so that they appear to be one animal, not fifteen or twenty, when observed closely. (I have reared quail and know their habits.) The quail also make for a fine gumbo, or with a brown sauce on top of white rice, a delicious entree. They are beautiful and interesting to watch, but they are also food.
Deer, buck or doe, appear majestic in the field as they scan for predators and graceful when they arc over fallen timber or fence. Fawns scamper and play about their mothers like children at the playground. The backstrap or tenderloin of the deer is one of the finest cuts of meat on earth. The liver of venison when soaked in milk overnight becomes delicate to the taste when fried and offers potency to the sick. Deer are beautiful and interesting to watch, but they are also food.
Two years ago, in 2009, I chose the name of my blog, “Sage to Meadow,” based upon a post by Coffeeonthemesa, a blog published out of Taos, New Mexico. Coffeeonthemesa uses a phrase in her post that describes a covey of scaled quail moving from “sage across the meadow” near her home. I like that. It describes plant and terrain, sage and meadow: expansive geographic images and symbols of the American West.
Here is the post of Coffeeonthemesa — the italics are mine — that gave my blog its name and a setting of a lesson about food.
The covey of scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) that pass through our yard on their mesa rounds is smaller this year. It seems there are only a dozen or so, but they are quite plump. They move north to south from the sage across the meadow, stop to graze under the sunflower seed feeder, move through the little shed (have they ever found anything to eat in there?) and out again, in a little row. They search around the wood pile and cross the barren summer garden, before heading down the road towards the mesa edge. Last week I found the feathers and scant remains of one on the north side of the house where our woodstove ash pit lies.
They’re short-tailed, chunky birds with a cotton top crest, and the lookout quail sits atop a sagebrush or low fence post and barks out warnings to the others. Generally they run when something nears, zigzagging through the underbrush. Although the covey can explosively flush when startled.
I cannot help, when watching them under the feeder, but imagine how their plump little breasts would make a fine gumbo.
Coffeeonthemesa blog, Taos, New Mexico, November 13, 2009.
The eloquence of Coffeeonthemesa’s prose brings the eternal cycle into her final sentence: “I cannot help, when watching them under the feeder, but imagine how their plump little breasts would make a fine gumbo.”
I have never been a consistent hunter in the food chain. I shop the food chain. I go to the supermarket for food, but I know it is not the supermarket that gives me food.
I have hunted in the food chain. In the 1970s, I went deer hunting with two friends, shot my deer and dressed it in the field. Oh, I had known the one-life-for-another axiom for a long time, but the buck I shot set the lesson inside me, inside my body so that all the literature and thinking I had ever done about one-life-for-another seemed faraway, alien even, to the beautiful, majestic animal I knelt before.
Beneath me, still breathing, eyes open, the grey coat shimmering, lay the deer, my first deer, its antlers hard and white. No longer would he browse the field, sniff the wind, eat acorns beneath live oaks. His animation was near end. As I put my pistol to his heart, I promised myself that I would prepare all of him for me and my wife and my friends to eat. I would honor this being, this deer, this day under the sun near Van Horn, Texas.
As I dressed the deer, I retched and threw up.
Must all lessons be assimilated like this? Or, expelled like this? Can’t very well drop the class can I? Can we? How do I get out of this university (universe)?
The regret and sadness I had that day recedes when I ponder the lesson the deer set in me. In my anthropology classes, the lesson is taught every semester, every class, to every student. I don’t grade them on it except for the economics of reciprocity in a society. I set them on a path to learn the lesson — they will have to go into the field to have the lesson truly set, but here are the words:
We all take life to sustain ourselves. To obscure that fact is profane. To recognize that we take a life to sustain ourselves is sacred. The sharing of food with another, next to laying down our life, is the greatest gift we can give others. Who feeds you? And, what do you do for them in return?
Jack Matthews, author of Sage to Meadow, Introductory Lecture in Physical and Cultural Anthropology.
Notes, corrections and additions:
Marcus G. Martin Bird Photo Gallery. The quail on cholla bush is from Martin’s gallery — permission pending. Click his link for other photographs and website.
This post started out only as a post describing how my blog got its name. From quail gumbo, however, the post grew into what it is now.
Along with the more somber lesson herein written, there are other lessons from an anthropological perspective that relate to to food: (1) by giving food, parties, spreading your resources, you enlarge your social network and friends; (2) gifts make slaves; (3) by giving of gifts, including food, you create obligations. I think that we could go deeper into the psychology of harvesting animals, but for the moment, this is it. One aspect that bears mentioning is that if you take life with respect, you probably won’t harvest unnecessarily, and you will get beaucoup angry with those that do. You may even go to war with agencies that take the fat of the land and hold it in reserve, extracting a price for its distribution. Read most any history on the opening of the American West, the partial closing of the American West.
Here is a link with news about the natural gas emergency in Taos and Espanola, New Mexico. The blog also has a list of the most recent articles and news concerning the Arctic blast in New Mexico. If you use Twitter, @streamtaos is tweeting up-to-date items.
These are some fine sentences from blogs I read during the week of February 14-20, 2010. If a writer has not composed during the week, I do not make a selection. As a general rule, I read the blogs listed here on Sage to Meadow and The 27th Heart, my other blog, and pick fine sentences. The 27th Heart is almost identical to Sage to Meadow in content. You can read the full posts of these fine sentences by clicking on my blogroll here on Sage to Meadow or The 27th Heart.
I’ve got to get out of here, if just for a little while. I’ve got to breathe some fresh air! I headed for my room and got dressed in some warm clothes. Heavy socks, shirt, sweater over the shirt and breeches. Headed for the garage, found my riding boots, fingerless gloves and jacket, hopped into the car and took off for the barn. Now this might sound strange to some, but for me, this was therapy. –Turquoise Moon, Daily Om, upon getting out of the house after the death of her husband.
I’m shifting, branching out into more modern art pieces. I’m not happy with the place I am right now, my work is not fulfilling me in the way I want it to and I’ve been increasingly frustrated. –Katie Johnson Art, on going in a new direction in her painting.
Cerillos is the Yin to Madrid’s Yang, the definite shadow city on this trail of powerful contrasts. There’s a heaviness here. A quiet darkness. –Kristy Sweetland, Stark Raving Zen, on photographing Cerillos, New Mexico, the Turquoise Trail.
She is not sitting around wondering if you’re going to make the right decision for her. She wants your comfort, your company, your love. Give her that — give yourself that — and the rest will follow. –Coyote Crossing, Chris Clarke, on knowing when it’s time to put your dog, your companion, down.
We only ask that you help us to compete as honest as the horses we ride and in a manner as clean and pure as the wind that blows across this great land of ours. –Evangeline Chavez, Evangeline Art Photography, from “A Rodeo Cowboy’s Prayer.”
My grandparents married in 1912, and their love story is a blog post (or two or three) in and of itself, but my Grandma Ayres never let a day, if not an hour, go by without talking about how much she missed her husband, Frank, after he died. He was born Benjamin Franklin Ayres, and he is buried next to his brother, Thomas Jefferson Ayres. –I Love New Mexico, Bunny Terry, on attending a funeral in Tucumcari.
At this, the factory hushed. I stood in silence while others awaited my answer. “Tell us your problem,” Yosi insisted. And, realizing that all of this factory work that helped support an entire kibbutz had come to a halt, I finally understood what a kibbutz was all about. An individual’s well-being trumped money made and money spent. For the unit was only as strong as the weakest link. –Kittie Howard, The Block, on her laundry and losing weight at the Plason kibbutz.
This is really a nice escape on these grey winter days…and once again is stirring up my desire to visit the town in Mexico where my father’s family came from. Con tiempo. –Taos Sunflower, Martie, on reading “Mexican Time,” a book on her nightstand.
I had arrived here, in the late fall of 2001, in a fog of emotions and with an empty gas tank. I had run out of gas, in every way, just before the first exit. –Teresa Evangeline, on arriving in Santa Fe in 2001.
This section of the Pedernales River runs through one of the most prominent uplift regions of the Edwards Plateau resulting in stair-step waterfalls running for over a mile. –Jeff Lynch, on photographing the Pedernales River in Texas.
It caught my breath at the rise of the arched bridge. We, the mass of morning migratory workers, moved at procession speed, paying reverence to that glorious sight. A vivid sky painting lingering long enough to fill our vessels for the day ahead. –Sea Mist and Sunsets, Chris Schutz, on the commute to work, crossing Puget Sound and the bridge.
The best sentences from my friends on the blogroll for the week of January 31-February 6, 2010.
Before I could go back down to help him cross he’d run the other way across five times as much water, and up the far bank to reach the bridge from the other side. He flew up to us smiling. –Coyote Crossing, Chris Clarke.
Nestled in the foreground is the Rio Grande and in the background are the snow-covered majestic Sandia Mountains. Sandia means watermelon in Spanish. –Evangeline Art Photography.
Musicians, the good ones anyway, understand the rules of music so well that they are able to venture beyond the rules of their form and create something even more true and beautiful and reflective of the true condition of human life. –HappiForever and the Hungry Ghosts.
I love the cemetery in Cimarron, New Mexico, with the hazy purple mountains in the distance. I love the cemetery at Logan for its windmill in the corner and its lack of perpetual care. There are yuccas and cedar trees and a view to the Revelto Creek and the graves of my Aunt Ruby and Uncle T.H. –I Love New Mexico Blog.
The crowd screamed, pushed forward. I knew to lie prostrate on the hot roof. Machine gun fire continued. –The Block, Kittie Howard.
I’ve spent most of my cooking career running small boutique hotels, private homes and luxurious bed and breakfasts. The best part of working small is playing with unexpected treats like gourmet fruit for garnish. Every morning is chance for a new work of art. –New Mexico Photography, Sebastian.
In honesty, my favorite part of living in the land of boats, ships and all is seeing them in stillness. Of this I never tire. Sails folded, long water shadows cast. There is peace in still water and its mirrored reflections. –Sea Mists and Sunsets, Chris Schutz.
There are men in orange suits and neon signs warning, “Stay Away!” or “Keep Out!” all over the place. But still, there is no sound. Just the wind quietly whistling, and that low vibrational drum beat of science. –Stark Raving Zen in the Very Large Array, New Mexico.
I stepped outdoors to take this photo and the instant the air hit my skin, it brought back memories of a nine year old girl growing up in East L.A. and having the special treat of ice skating in the Paramount ice rink. –Taos Sunflower, photo of fog moving up to Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.
I had set up a small piece of the yard, down beneath the far end of the clothesline and there I lived in my head and in my heart for more than one summer. –Teresa Evangeline.
As I sighted through my viewfinder I knew the long hike and difficult climb had been worth it. I’d found a perfect spot to spend a few wonderful hours doing what I love the most. –Jeff Lynch, Texas Photography, upon seeing Gorman Falls near Bend, Texas.
On the edge of the darkened wood, the silence falls through the stilted trees…no whippoorwill remains. –Bonnie Joy Bardos, Bohemian Artist, from blogroll of The 27th Heart.
And, to be in the present eliminates our ongoing thoughts about our tragic, unhappy pasts. –Turquoise Moon, from the blogroll of The 27th Heart.
Outside the week of January 31-February 6, 2010, these are two bloggers that fall under Cordilleran blogging.
Christmas Eve our home is always open to our sons’ friends. They come after Taos Pueblo ceremonies, family dinners, drinks with friends. There’s green chile stew, cornbread, cookies. Sausage Cheese Balls. We have a bonfire outside in the pit and listen to the stories of their still young lives. The moon rises above Pueblo Peak. We relive the past and laugh and tell tales. Toast to their futures. –Coffee On the Mesa.
Often I gazed across to this remote ridge and wished to bridge the stream. –Observations from a Missouri River Bluff.