River Time

Sometimes you just have to sit by the water, you know? Moving water. It's that negative ion thing I don't understand, but I know it works. Moving water can smooth away all the pokey edges, making us into instant river rocks. When we were in Ashland, Oregon, we'd trek over to the coast regularly, to visit the ocean. Even though we lived on a lake, the ocean did a much better job of water therapy. We don't really want to live at the ocean. Too much fog. Too many rusted things. The ocean is a place to visit and love and run away before you start to dislike it.

Now that we're here, back (and forward) in good old Taos, New Mexico, and much too far away from any ocean, the best bet is the river. And it's not just any river, it's the Rio Grande for goodnesssakes, and it's on a regular route to the ocean, so there's a good connection there.

I got up yesterday morning, couldn't write a word, couldn't look at beads, couldn't wash windows in the house, and proclaimed it a River Day. It took me till after lunch to pull it together, but once we were finally in the truck, it was only about a 20 minute drive to our favorite spot at County Line. It's the place the river rafts get out, and there have been some nice improvements made there, like a boat launch, a big parking lot, and bathrooms. This time of year, the sun is still warm, but the raft trips have stopped until spring, so there are very few people there. We settled ourselves in a grassy spot on the shore, and pretty much just sat there. For hours. It was a perfect day. Happy dogs, happy Rick, and happy me.

By the time the sun started to throw shadows at the canyon, all pokey edges were smoothed, and we decided to take the long way home -- of course -- up through Pilar and the gorge, coming out the top at the far north end of town. We'd heard rumors of new pavement, which we found eventually, but the drive up the steep dirt road from the river to the top was ridiculously bumpy and primitive. A lot of New Mexico roads are like that. Keeps the riff raff out.

Once we were out of the Rio Grande Gorge, the mesa opened up all around us, with Taos Mountain in the distance. The sagebrush landscape is harsh to some, but to us, it's a beautiful garden. And if you're ever lucky enough to be out there after a hard rain, the smell is just heaven

As we drove along, a few houses started to appear. Everything from makeshift mobile home shacks to adobe dream houses to earthships. It's a very "Mad Max" sort of scene. It's also where we imagine ourselves buying some land when we sell this house. Nothing fancy. Just a piece of dirt where we can start with a parking space for our trailer, and gradually build a small house that suits us. All for cash. The days of big house/big mortgage have left us broke and stressed and committed to simplifying our life to a manageable point.

Maybe I haven't explained this before... we know we have a beautiful house here. We love it. We appreciate it. It has served us well. But things being what they are, unless something changes in a dramatically favorable financial way, we can't afford to keep it. That's why we're not moving back in. We don't even feel like it's ours anymore.

And so... we imagine a cash-up-front life on this mesa with this big blue sky that fills with all the colors of a painter's palette every evening, and then with more stars than I ever dreamed possible each night. A life that allows us to sit a while with our Taos Family, and then to travel to our other families, and back again. A nice flowing sort of life, rather like a river.

I couldn't help but think yesterday, looking at the Rio roll by, if I jumped in and floated with it, I'd find myself at the ocean. But then, that's not really where I want to be. The river wore away some of my restlessness. I'm happy right here. For now.


  1. Hah! You, Rick and Lucy have identical contented/smug expressions, and I am happy for you. I am one of those people who needs moisture and green. I can barely stand to drive through the dry, hot, jagged, snakey stuff (with an air conditioner); but I am glad somebody likes it. I have had visions of dismay since a child of the pioneers lumbering and crunching along to face the desertous hell. Shudder. Norine

  2. I miss my desert so very much. People up here where I live in Michigan cannot understand and it makes me sad. My favorite drive, before my father passed away, was the four hours between Albq and EP at sunrise. That was a true heaven on earth.

  3. You two look marvelous! John has a job for 3 months and I am now the chief campground host. Your inpiration up in Ashland will come in handy!


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