Thursday, January 31, 2013


This is the last day of the first month of the New Year. I am finally getting used to writing 2013. It is also the last day of PQ’s birthday month. He celebrates the entire month of January or at least the rest of January after the 21st. We are in Arizona for a few days so that he can enjoy the lower altitude and warmer temperature. Also he needed to recover from celebrating his Birthday. However, our main excuse for being here this time was an opportunity to see one of my first and dearest Taos friends who now lives in New York City and is visiting her son in Phoenix.

The drive out here was beautiful.  We were barely ahead of a storm all the way but the cloud activity in the sky and the unusually clear air took the monotony out of that long stretch between Gallup and Flagstaff. As we were driving, I could see remnants of old Route 66 here and there and remembered that life-changing trip I shared with my aunt and uncle when I was twelve years old that included Southern Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.  I knew immediately that the Southwest was my true home even though it took a long time to get there.

Old Route 66 was closer to earth than I-40 is. I remember only two lanes that moved along at a slower speed and at the same height as the desert brush and red earth. The immense sky came all the way to the ground back then, just as it would if you were on foot among the red rocks, dust and brush. For some reason that long ago experience floated to the top of my mind vanquishing the big time gap between now and then. Sometimes I feel like I’m viewing right now through a double pained window and the past through a dirty window but this new year’s first month seems to have cleaned my perception all the way back to that first road trip to New Mexico and Arizona. What does this mean? Are we on the edge of an overall cleansing experience? That might be ominous. But I'm enjoying the memories.  The philosophy behind modern technology is apparent. It takes us further away from the landscape, into disconnect and abstraction, as the highways get higher and wider and the cars move faster. But this time it isn't working and the landscape floods in through a wormhole of memories.

My dreams have been full of tumult the last few days. I’m apprehensive that life is about to become a pot of stew stirred up again by the top chef. That is usually both good and bad for those of us who are used to drifting quietly at the bottom of the pot like cubed potatoes. At the beginning of this New Year, I can already sense that the time has come that PQ must decide to prepare for a lung transplant and that I must find an income.  We have been postponing both of those decisions for the past three years.  In reality, that is what I see for 2013, the end of postponing. We went to Sedona this afternoon and hit some of our familiar spots but the feeling of unrest wouldn’t go away, so I suppose I’m stuck on how to begin. And, I must admit that everything important starts this way.  I’m working up the courage to jump out of the familiar box.  But this time, I’m counting on being smart enough not to jump into another box.

Sorry, I'll be more careful with my aim next time. Courthouse Butte on the left Bell Rock peeking up near the center.
I discovered this afternoon that my iPhone camera does panoramic shots. Probably the rest of you that have iPhones knew that all along. That feature just appeared accidentally on the Court House Butte Trail, and I didn’t know what I did to launch it. I’m posting that first panoramic photo although it isn’t very good, but perhaps it’s a sign of other undiscovered features. PQ’s favorite bracelet given to him by a Navajo Medicine Man seemed lost forever two years ago and then just before Christmas a new one of the same design but even finer came into his life. I’m thinking these are signs, however mundane of other serendipitous possibilities.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Winter is still holding us in a freezing grip. After a very long mild autumn, the weather suddenly became Arcticesque about a week before Christmas (more or less). In Taos, it is still below zero almost every night. Recently it was minus thirty degrees in Angel Fire on the other side of the mountains. However, except for the fact that cold air really gets to PQ’s lungs, we haven’t paid much attention to it. It is great to have the holidays in the past and finally be over the border into 2013. January has always seemed like a stationary month on the Calendar like a closed stage curtain waiting for the play to begin. The anticipation of an unknown future is the only energy I detect.

Mystic Mountains on the way to the Post Office
Meanwhile, life is quiet. I’m learning to use Word Press on a test website (at this point it seems easier just to code from scratch), reading three books and the current issue of Parabola (I’m a Gemini and like to read several books simultaneously). As a child, I enjoyed mixing food together to experiment with flavor combinations in restaurants, much to the embarrassment of my parents. Now I enjoy simultaneously reading several books on entirely different subjects to combine interesting associations though sometimes the mix is a mystery. I believe the learning process is alchemy. If you feel stuck in a box but want to think outside the box, tear up the box and presto, you’re out of the box.

 PQ is very quiet. He watches animal shows, true crime shows and movies on the TV for hours. Now and then, he checks the Pueblo house to make sure that it’s OK and that the guy he hires to take snow off the roof is still keeping up with the snow. I’ve noticed that he is feeling more responsibility for the old Pueblo house. As we get older, we are more aware of irreplaceable things taken for granted by the young. Neither of us has been painting. I’m thinking I may just put an easel up in the kitchen, although the light isn’t very good. 

 Many things happen behind the scenes or under the radar during quiet times. I’ll admit that I feel uneasy. This is probably the “monkey mind” at work. I never had an end-of-the-world sensation about the passing of 2012, but I do sense a turning over, like farmers turn over soil for a new crop. I suppose if you’re a bug in the mud that would seem like the end of the world. Mother Earth is the ultimate farmer.

Territorial dispute, some local drama from the window.
We are planning to visit Cottonwood, AZ again toward the end of this month. This is our first big New Year event. As a highlight of this trip, we plan to meet a friend who used to live in Taos and is visiting her son in Phoenix. We haven’t seen each other since 2001. I last visited her when she lived in Phoenix, and I remember that it was one week after 9/11. It was also my first visit to Sedona. We will be completing a circle.

 Right now, I’m feeling a bit entrapped by Taos. Although I love this place it’s an intense relationship and like all intense relationships, sometimes you need some downtime, to regroup, refresh and get some perspective. The money from mom’s house is gone, we are back to being low cash Taosenos, trying to figure out how to do the things we live for, such as going to Arizona, eating out, painting, and blogging. Also, we both need some dental work, I haven’t seen a doctor for over twenty years and if PQ has a lung transplant, although his insurance pays for most of it, we would have to live in the city where he gets the surgery for several months, paying rent.

PQ’s surgery is still an open subject, but I suspect that this is the year it will become an issue. Now and then I have to remind myself that I’ve lived on faith most of my life but it’s often been a cliffhanger. I suppose my fear is that I’ll have to get another Taos style job that offers low wages, no insurance no vacation time, no paid holidays and barely enough to cover the utilities while tying up time and energy for things I’d rather be doing. My ultimate dream would be making money doing something I actually like to do and do well. I don’t want to sell things to tourists or even locals anymore. The new challenge is getting out of this box. I’m now fantasizing tearing it to bits. Fortunately, PQ has a lot more confidence about materializing whatever we need.

I never write New Year resolutions. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a sure way to defeat yourself. Nevertheless, I can sense some new issues for this year, but I don’t want to know too much, it spoils the effect. New should be new. I’m open and I’m hopeful, and even though PQ’s health and the march of time places some limits on our future, I sense some powerful changes in the works. The alchemical mix of time, faith and anticipation can transform blah into bright.

 I just heard the TV weather guy say that the cold snap (more like a big bite) is about to break, although tonight is still supposed to be below zero, today the temperature got to +34 degrees, an upward progression that is supposed to continue.