Category Archives: On Integrating Word and Image

New Earth, Old Friend

I forgot my camera. I was indignant until I remembered I’d never owned a camera until a few years ago. All hike records were scratched with a stubby pencil on a 3×5 card.

We went off-trail in the Malpaís. Snow and wind and frost-heaving had smoothed sand over the face of the weathered stone, healing the skin of the desert until we were the first ever to walk there.

Camera or not, it was a good day, though I wish I could have gotten an image of an old friend. Fortunately I already had one; it was taken in a different season, but you get the idea.

Kitchenware

In an area we’ve hiked scores of times, looking for a place for lunch, we climbed a little mesa that promised a good view. On a smooth sandstone ledge, unexpected, was a bedrock metate: the roughly-pecked surface where a woman had ground corn or wild-gathered seeds.

Around it were rough petroglyphs of a lizard and snakes: probably Puebloan, but so heavily coated with desert varnish that they looked Archaic. It was fine to sit where she had sat, looking out over the late winter piñon and sand, munching corn chips we had not had to grind ourselves.

Up and Running!

Mudding bread ovens in Zuni

The mud is dry, the dust has settled, the links have been checked twice (remember, though: imperfection is vitality). The updated digital Betsy is here, as multilayered, quirky, and internally referential as its author.

Check out the Gallery, with examples of my current painting series. It’s not a sales gallery–for that you’ll find a link to Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe (and one to Taos Fine Art, once their website rebuild is complete)–it’s a group of my favorites. You may find paintings you own; you tend to buy the ones I like best!

Enjoy the “Boots” photo series—you’ve seen a few in my posts. And since I have a more or less equal appreciation of boots and books, look for “Stories,” which features complete short stories published in Fantasy and Science Fiction and Realms of Fantasy. I had fun digging through years of daybooks and art files for illustrations.

Note that if you haven’t explored the portals to art-and-writing process you may enjoy that rich wilderness. You’ll find updates there as well.

Thank you for your patience, and enjoy! I’ll return to hike entries soon, I promise. Now where’s my paintbrush?

 

 

Horned Toad Hatch

Our horned toads—the Desert Short-Horned Lizard—give live birth. Or rather, they incubate shell-less eggs in their bodies, and give birth to a litter of six to thirty-one (thirty-one!) infants still in their amnions, little marbles that break open into horned toads ready to run.

On Sandia Crest I came upon what must have been a recent birth, a fat adult with a salmon-colored chin and a handful of babies the size of bumblebees.

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Agua Viva

It poured.

I’d never seen live water on Red Mesa before. High up it was milky, coming off the pale-yellow-to-gray sands and clays; below it was a rich red, thick with mud. We couldn’t get any wetter, so we waded right through the freshets that were neither sun-hot nor rain-cold but somewhere in between.

On the highway home, just east of the Ojito road, an arroyo roared down like ocean waves. Astonishing.

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Star Person

We went up the stony wash that is westernmost of the Syncline drainages, beautiful from the cliffs above. Petroglyphs on its water-scrubbed sides: a symmetrical spiral in dark desert varnish, and a pale Star Person almost erased by flashfloods. There was still a skim of water running down the linked pools.

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