Monday, November 23, 2015

Change is Afoot

Red Tail Hawk on the Sentinel Tree 

The last week of November begins. It brings with it the Full Beaver Moon. I am not sure why the Indians of the Southwest named it that, but for me it seems it may be the last month when beavers can be seen before they go to ground below the ice in their dens. November is the 'tween month. Between Indian Summer and winter. It is the month where we do not take snow seriously because warm days which follow will no doubt melt it. Ski areas are seriously blowing snow to be ready for a ski season which used to begin now.

It is the month were ice appears on the ponds and lakes but it also disappears on the ponds and lakes almost as fast. It is the month of preparation for winter, whether you a beaver stashing twigs under the water, or a bear putting on hibernation fat, or a human stocking up on firewood and pantry essentials.

The snow does not get serious until middle of December. It is then you best have a plowman lined up for the driveway and enough food in the freezer and pantry to last a few days if you cannot get out of the valley. Actually that only happened once in my twenty years of living here: 2006. Four days the passes were closed and we were sealed in with tourists from Christmas who had no idea how to survive.

I have begun checking my weather app again. Snow is coming on Wednesday night. Chances are it won't be serious but it could be. It is a Super El Nino year. Admittedly the weathermen have absolutely no idea what a super El Nino year will mean. Other ordinary El Nino years have not meant that much snow for where I live. The storms seem to divide and we are between the dumps in Colorado and the part of the storm which goes south. But 2006 and six feet of snow in less than three days taught me to be prepared. The weeks of blowing around that same six feet were not fun either. January usually brings a thaw but not that year.

That was the worst of winters. Even for ski areas because the tourists were sure they could not get here and if they did it would be too cold. Somehow they seem to forget we, unlike Dallas, have snowplows.

So while I haven't a clue what winter will bring there is a feeling in the air that things will change. Winter will at last announce its arrival. The ponds will be serious about icing up. And the question about winter boots or snowshoes will be moot. In fact one pair of snowshoes will go into the GMC 4 wheel drive in case I have to walk in or our of someplace. And I will become much more aware of where I left my cellphone so I can be sure it goes with me.

But we are not Alaska or even Aspen, Colorado. There will be days in the middle of what passes for winter here when I will go out with just a polar fleece to get the firewood for the night. It is THE ten days in December I dread. There are always ten days when the temperature really falls and sometimes the sun will not shine for that period of time. I loathe those ten days. They are what winter was in Colorado when I lived there. It is why I do not live in Colorado. But ski areas in New Mexico love those ten days, because if they work it right they can blow enough snow to last them till March.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Walk In Beauty

to walk in

around me

the silence of

the noise of

J. Binford-Bell
November 15, 2015

It is often a solitary path, but one with great rewards. I will be on social media a lot less in the future and just to post positive messages and images.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Violence is Not the Answer

Where have all the flowers gone?

Once again the world was shaken by an unspeakable act of violence and yet everyone wants to speak about it. The news media platforms are full of it with all the gory details. Social media is full of pundits with all the answers. Including, but not limited to their favorite cause, be it ISIL or guns or inadequate policing or the wrong religion or praying to the wrong god.

And everyone has their favorite solution to the problem. In the US it is take away the guns. France took away the veil. The military want to take lives. The police all our freedoms. None of these have been the answer. Many of these solutions have been the root cause of more violence. And yet we ignore that. It was all about we didn't take it far enough. Guns ought to be harder to get, we need to drop more bombs, spy upon the populations with more, strip more people naked, ban the black hoodie, forbid the religious veils and habits, close all the borders, police all the neighborhoods . . . Find yet another "non-violent" way to violate our humanity. And if that does not work be more violent.

I wanted to escape the news this morning. Does it really matter if it is 149 or 151 dead? Or if they were shot or blown up? None of that will change in any meaningful way if we watch another minute or find another news source. We will not solve the problem if we post another meme or demand another invasion or push the media to place blame.

We are to blame. We have been given plenty of opportunity over the decades to find a way to peace. But we continue to choice violence.

I was a hippy. A peacenik. I participated in peace marches against the war in Vietnam. I stood in solidarity with the non-violent approach to civil rights. I lit candles. If the rest of the population believes they just haven't bombed enough people I can continue to believe I haven't lit enough candles.

I urge anyone who reads this to turn off the TV, shut off the social media. They do not have the right answer. Instead sit and meditate or pray for an answer we have not yet tried. A way to peace, be it on the neighborhood or national level, which does not include violence.

Violence only begets more violence.

I do not have the answer. I just know nothing we have tried seems to work. And I am willing to live in the question of how do we stop killing each other.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What is true?

I need to take a long lonely drive to Raton to reflect. But life has been rather busy of late and empty road time not on the schedule. Frankly the schedule of late has not allowed a lot of space for reflection in the studio or behind the camera or walking with the dogs.

So, oddly enough, I am looking forward to the dentist today. That is an hour drive to Questa through the Moreno Valley and over Bobcat pass and through Red River. And after the dentist it is off to Taos for the passport renewal before returning through Palo Flechado canyon to my side of the mountain. Without the errands and appointments this route is called the Enchanted Circle. For me it is in a lot of ways a passage through the past.

I once lived on the other side of the circle in Questa. Red River was a frequent jaunt for work. And I drove the route from Questa to Taos more than I wanted. I hated Taos as much then as I do now. And, in fact, frequently went north to shop in Alamosa, Colorado instead.

After living on the front lines of the Hondo Fire for 22 days I knew I one of the things I would leave behind easily in an evacuation was my husband and Questa. Twenty years ago I moved to Black Lake and have not regretted it except for short bits of time. It fits my geo-spatial cultural personality more than the other side of the mountain. When I began looking for someplace to live here I had a different image in my mind than the property I now live in. My real estate agent knew me better than I knew me. After a life of being a gypsy I am home. It seems late to make that pronouncement, but I have been presented with alternatives a lot lately.

Friends are questioning their "homes." Some are moving. Some moving back. Some divide their time between two places but still call this area home. Some have been planning to move for almost a decade and are still here. I am here. I plan to stay here. I am working on a plans to make staying here easier. And I am getting involved in the community again. Especially the art community.

So on the list of today's errands the passport renewal seems strange. In fact I left the spaces blank on the application which ask about my travel plans. My sister is making the travel plans for the next Thelma and Louise road trip. I am getting the passport renewed because of the illegal aliens with New Mexico driver's licenses. I want to beat the January 1, 2016 deadline imposed by the federal government. But can I put in that planned travel slot "legal form of ID." That is the reason I am renewing it. That is the reason I will carry my passport even while just traveling the Enchanted Circle.

The story is Donald Trump, possibly the next president of the US, doesn't know New Mexico is part of the country he is making a bid to lead. And to be honest I think that may be good. The passport is just in case the US invades us. But frankly I think we can slip away and not be missed. One of the reason I really love it here.