On raindrop-pecked sand, the subtle lunar crescent of an Archaic metate broken and abandoned a few thousand years ago.
An Archaic mano, or hand grinding stone, begins its next few thousand years in the sand of a hearth. Time and weather have reduced the charcoal of ancient campfires to a shadow in the soil.
Under a juniper instead of a cork tree. Picked clean by coyotes and bleached by the desert sun.
…but the coyote was barefoot. Fair’s fair.
…and now, 150 million years later, so can we.
The Morrison Formation, deposited by rivers, deltas, and shallow seas. In rain or snow it reconstitutes to dinosaur poo—you will never get the mud off your boots.
Where we put our feet can change within a yard or two.
Also true for others’ feet.
One of the liabilities of an oversized right brain is less room for the left brain. In my busy multiverse of painting, writing, teaching, and hiking, that’s a real issue at times.
I have four paintings in the Albuquerque Museum’s annual ArtsThrive show and sale—this is my seventh year—and I should have sent you the links a couple of weeks ago:
Enter my name in the top right of the second link. And if you live in ‘Burque, the show’s up until November 8.
After long heat, rain and chill at last. The little tinajas in the sandstone have sips of water now for birds, foxes, coyotes.
The sinuous watercourses are full of red mud. This collared lizard—male? female?—out and about before cold weather, was actually an outrageous neon chartreuse. With a muddy face.
One: two-tracks, the dusty, lonely roads that follow the contours of the West. The one above reminds me of a long-ago hike taken from the low road to Zuni.
Two: hiking high and wild, to beat the heat and get up where breathing is a pleasure. Lately that has meant the Jemez Mountains, raked over by wildfires but springing up green with the monsoon rains. We just missed the wild raspberries: the bears got there first.
Shining and blackest black: the obsidian of the Jemez Mountains at one of its prehistoric sources.
The closest road had been closed for years—at least since the Las Conchas fire in 2011—and was blocked by the enormous trunks of dozens of burned and wind-fallen Ponderosas. We hiked the dusty three miles in.
For thousands of years, prehistoric miners knocked down big cobbles of obsidian into pieces more easily carried to distant pueblos, where they would be knapped into knives, scrapers, projectile points. What is left is debitage; whole acres of mesa glitter with a pavement of black glass.