Tag Archives: Taos Pueblo

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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Filed under Uncategorized

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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Filed under Life in Balance, New Mexico, Taos

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!



Filed under Acequias New Mexico, Christmas, Dancing, Life in Balance, New Mexico, Taos

Rio de Pueblo


As I traveled this week from Mingus, Texas, to Taos, New Mexico, I stopped in the Kit Carson National Forest, alongside the Flechado Day Campground that bordered the Rio Pueblo seen above. The water was cold, flowing, gurgling, clear.

Back home today at my ranchita in Texas, I filled water troughs with Barton Creek Coop water so that my last horse of the remuda I once husbanded can have water to drink in addition to the cow tank that is the lowest I have ever seen.

I placed cedar posts in all three of the water troughs–stable, corral, far field round trough–so that squirrels when they fall into the water while slacking their thirst can have something to climb onto and escape a watery grave.  Three squirrels have drowned in the stable water trough and a roadrunner was nearly drowned when I pulled him out several years ago.

Rio Pueblo, Barton Creek, and my water trough in the far field proffer life.  I accept the gift.  When the animals of this semi-arid region accept a gift of water, I can, at least, make sure that it is not their last benefit.


Filed under Salt Creek, Taos

Native Storytelling at Milagro at Los Luceros

Los Luceros Hacienda

Milagro at Los Luceros document, excerpt follows:

What is Milagro at Los Luceros?
In May of 2009, Governor Bill Richardson and Robert Redford announced a new, unique collaboration for New Mexico’s Native American and Hispanic filmmakers with the working title of ʺSundance in New Mexico.ʺ The collaboration has been officially renamed “Milagro at Los Luceros” in reference to The Milagro Beanfield War, the 1988 film directed by Mr. Redford, shot on location in Truchas, New Mexico, and based on the John Nichols novel of the same name.

Where is Los Luceros?
Named to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983, Los Luceros is a hacienda (ranch complex) lying northeast of the town of Alcalde, New Mexico, just north of Española, on the Rio Grande. The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) purchased and operates the 148‐acre Historic Los Luceros property and is preserving its historic nature and integrity for the purpose of cultural, artistic, environmental, and educational activities, events and outreach.

What is the mission of Milagro at Los Luceros?
In collaboration with the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s Film Division and Redford Enterprises, the mission of Milagro at Los Luceros is to provide immersive jobs training and education in film and the arts. The project will be dedicated to community, environmental protection, and advancing the arts as an economic driver. Programs will be designed specifically for New Mexico’s Native American and Hispanic

[Excerpts closed.]



Los Luceros has a long history, dating back to pueblo occupation in prehistory.

Mary Cabot Wheelwright and family lived on the site for many years.  She and other scholars discoursed with Hastiin Klah at Los Luceros whose sandpainting tapestry is displayed in the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe.

I visited the museum several times during the 1970s and 1980s when Klah’s tapestry dominated the public display collection.  I have several postcards of his sandpaintings and his biography in my personal collection.

September 2009 SAR Field Trip to Historic Los Luceros.

April 2009 Field Trip of Chilis and Sherds to Los Luceros, Friends of Archeology.


Filed under Life in Balance

Our Taos Blue Door

On my first visit to Taos Pueblo in 1967, blue doors and window frames reflected color brilliantly against adobe walls.  Still do.  Never outlandish in my opinion, the blue gave an even more mysterious quality to the north and south pueblo complexes.  I read that the Taos blue or Taos green, as it might also be designated, prevented evil and witchcraft from entering the dwelling.  The color surrounded the window or door frame with a protective halo.  It was also a beautiful color by itself, the security notwithstanding.

Blue Front Door, Flying Hat Ranch

When we decided to paint our gray doors, we looked up photographs in our books of the Taos blue and green, settling on the color you see in these photographs.  Brenda painted all three of our doors.  We got the paint from Sherwin Williams in Weatherford, Texas.  She took in a swatch that she had compared with photos in Christine Mather and Sharon Woods, Santa Fe Style, p. 25, lower right-hand photograph.  Sherwin Williams designated the color, Turquish, No. 6939.  She bought a gallon, using a third of the gallon to paint the doors twice.  I am trying to get her to paint the tack room door of the barn.  Course, there are no evil spirits down there.  Not with the horses chasing away bad dreams.

Close up of Taos Blue front door of Flying Hat Ranch house



Christine Mather and Sharon Woods, Santa Fe Style, New York: Rizzoli, 1986.

Red Door at Taos, Courtesy Gary Thompson, Photographer


Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Santa Fe, Taos, Taos Blue Doors

Taos Pueblo Watercolor

Taos Pueblo In Storm (2009)

WordPress has a function of searching related posts to a blogger’s posting.

This artist, only identified as Hilldowdy1, has produced a magnificent watercolor.  Who is Hilldowdy1?  The artist has several other watercolors online, but there is no information about him or her.

After skimming through Hilldowdy1’s blog, I find out that the artist has traveled in Europe and been at the Chicago Institute of Art.

Please link to Hilldowdy1’s blog by referring to her comment below.  A very fine blog with paintings.


Filed under Taos

Taos is Calling

I visited Taos countless times in the 1970s. I lived in Amarillo, Texas, and by leaving Interstate 40 at Tucumcari, traveling north on state highways, I could be in Taos in six, six-and-a-half hours.

Taos and its people offered me a chance, on two occasions, to move and reside in the high desert country.  I regretfully declined the offers, but I think back everyday of an non-lived lineament of my life.

The first offer came from Jim and Voyce Durling-Jones who had land and a home out near the Three Sisters Peaks, in the old Carson, New Mexico, area.  At the time, they managed the Sagebrush Inn and built their adobe home near Three Sisters.  They offered me a parcel of their land to build a bunkhouse or cabin near their place.  Jim was also a metal worker, a sculptor, and Voyce, an artist.  I declined because I couldn’t afford to build a casita and I did not have the equity to borrow.

The second offer I had came from a Taos Indian woman who asked me to marry her.  I had met her cousin, Leroy, and he had taken me, the Indian woman, and her brother up on the road behind the pueblo that goes up the mountain in the direction of Blue Lake.  About a third of the way up the mountain, we stopped, got out the chuckbox and ate lunch under the aspens.  We had lunch meat, onions, tomatoes, and peaches along with Coca-Cola and water.  I got out the guitar and played and sang a few songs.  It was good and happy time.  Leroy, I remember, took a bite out of the onion as if it was an apple.  It never occurred to me that here was this white face up in the mountains with three Indians.  I drove them up to the lunch in my Volkswagen, a dark blue “bug” with a sun roof.

When we finished lunch, we loafed awhile and chatted, then I drove into town with the Indians.  They showed me a back road that went by Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house.  As I drove, the Taos woman looked at me (she was sitting in the front passenger seat), and with a broad wave of her arm, sweeping the Taos reservation, the mountains and the desert, she said, “Jack, all of this can be yours, too, if you will marry me.”

In all seriousness, she proposed.  I thought it a rather quick courtship.  Her name was _____.  I replied that I was already committed to a woman back in Texas and I could not break my promise, but that I would always remember her proposal, the sweep of her arms across Indian land, and that day we lunched under the aspens.  Her brother and Leroy in the back seat, said, almost in unison, “Yeeehaaay, Yeay!”  She was not shamed by my rejection and I was honored.  And, her male relatives were not displeased.  We spent another hour or so together and I took them back to the pueblo and let them out near their home, close to the old graveyard and church.  I’m not sure she was serious, but neither did she laugh when she proposed.  I know I would have had to sustain a courtship with her for it to be respectful.  I never saw her or Leroy again, and, I’ve often wondered what became of her.

So, twice, Taos has called, and twice I have declined.  If it calls me again, I will submit, and move with livestock and family to a beautiful, open, soaring, and inspiring place that has beauty above it, beauty below it, and beauty all around it: Taos.


Filed under Taos