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Bill hard ar work 11-11-15It’s supposed to begin snowing at four. I have an hour and a half to stay out here beside our cabin writing until then.

I want to take advantage of every minute of it.

I took my two-mile hike this morning with Tessa down on the mesa.

It was chilly with a wind coming from the northwest. But the sun made me feel exhilirated. Tessa would run ahead, stop to sniff sagebrush and wait for me to catch up.

We were the only ones on the trail.

Being out there on the mesa brought Mabel Dodge Luhan to mind.

She came out here to escape New York, just as we did a hundred years later.

In some ways it hasn’t changed.

Yes, of course the road has been paved and graded for fast traffic.

But looking out across the mesa, it is still hard to see a human dwelling or any signs of humans.

I put these thoughts out of mind while I was hiking.

Why waste time with thoughts instead of being there with the world of nature that I love so much?  After all, it is the reason my wife and I moved out here in the first place.

But after the hike, back here now, I am writing my post for the day.

I thought I’d share with you some thoughts that Mabel Dodge Luhan had when she first arrived on the mesa driving toward Taos.

If you’ve driven the gorge road from Santa Fe to Taos you will easily recognize “The Vista” that stuns as you pop out of the gorge onto the mesa for the first time.

So, let me share Mabel’s impression. It’s from her book, THE EDGE OF TAOS DESERT: An Escape to Reality, that I am re-reading almost thirty years after we first topped the mesa from the gorge to “The Vista.”


Mabel’s Words

Mr. Craft stopped the car before he attempted the long climb and we got out and stretched ourselves while he filled the radiator from a bottle he carried. We were in the wildest spot imaginable, climbing northward through a narrow pass. Here in these depths of the mountains, a steep road mounted alongside the high slope on the opposite side, and it was rutted and washed narrow. We . . . hoped we would not meet anyone coming towards us!

Mr. Craft sighed as he struggled along. Now we were really headed away from civilization. Now indeed we left the world behind. The Rio Grande Canyon was a part of the world he knew; it had a railroad station in it, down below, and the familiar river that flowed near Santa Fe had kept us company all day. Now we were going into isolation.

The road mounted steadily, cut out of the mountainside and sometimes it was not much wider than the car, and without anything to keep us from rolling down. Had the steering gear broken, or the engine failled us on the steep incline, we would have been in terrible danger. Mr. Craft leaned forward over his wheel and [Mabel’s husband] Maurice giggled nervously. He put his hand on my arm and murmured, “Where are you taking me to, dar-r-r-ling?”

As we climbed out of the shadowy depths, and descended again, and climbed again, and wended our blind way through the dark trees, the light grew more golden and more fair, until suddenly we reached the top and swung around a curve onto level land: and there we were in a great blaze of sunlight, so mellow and so enveloping that we could see nothing for a momenrt.

What we call “The View” hasn’t changed much since Mabel Dodge Luhan first saw it 97 years ago!


The sun, with a great smile radiating from it, was just at the rim of the faraway horizon, level with our eyes where we paused to look about us. Its rays came to our faces straight and unobstructed across the gulf of the black Rio Grande Canyon over westward. The interminable desert beyond stretched between it and us like a soft, darkened carpet. The little canyon we had come through had spewed us up out of its depths and we stood breathless in awe at the scene that stretched out before us. . .

Over towards the north, a crescent-shaped mountain range curved like an arm around the smooth valley. At its loftiest portion, a mountain shaped along the snowy heights like an Indian bow, rested with a vast and eternal composure. . .

“Where is Taos?” I exclaimed, eagerly.

“Well, it’s over there at the foot of that big mountain,” replied Mr. Craft without enthusiasm. . .


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