Cars, Painting, and Friendship

In the continuing saga of Bella the Renegade Jeep, I called the dealership yesterday and was told they’d “sent the part in the wrong color” and were trying to figure out how to paint it and would be coming up with a new estimate. My post-covid assertive self said, “Hold your horses, cowboy.” I didn’t say those exact words. I said. “I’m already paying you $800 I’m not paying you more. I don’t care what color it is.” The (I now know) really nice kid on the other end of the phone said, “OK.”

A couple hours later they called and told me my car was ready. In the meantime I’d gotten blisteringly angry thinking they’d ordered the wrong part and had expected me to pay for their mistake. Grrrrrrrrrr but no. The shuttle driver came and picked me up, and I learned all the parts come in primer gray. Cool. It’s a lot better to know they were trying to do the right thing than think they were trying to rip me off — but they should have called in the first place and asked me what I wanted them to do instead of going ahead. But maybe they were going to call.

I’ve learned by now that no one ever knows what’s going on. Bella has a unique back end now with a gray spoiler and a door that will open. I hugged Bear close thinking we’ll finally be able to go out together. Silly? Maybe but what’s life made of? Karaoke?

In other news — lots of news yesterday top most, maybe, Finland is now in NATO. I recently watched a movie I saw a while back — Local Color. It’s about an old Russian emigre artist and a young wannabe American artist. The old artist is a representational artist in the 70s which was not the big boom in representational art the early 1900s were. The old artist is bitter because of that, his impressionist paintings aren’t selling any more, and all the art conversations are about the superiority of abstract painting. It’s a good not great movie with a story and acting and everything. A lot of what the old guy says I believe — that good art communicates something and offers a shared experience. I also believe it can stand on its own without someone explaining it. I’m not the god of this; this is just me. I am a representational artist and I will never be anything else. I paint actual, recognizable, things. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate abstract art — I do — but it’s not me.

A friend asked me that straight out last summer, “What’s your obsession with reality?” as she looked at a painting. I remember being a combination of irked and amused by that question and I still think that she didn’t know what she was looking at. I don’t think any artist paints reality. Every painting is an abstraction even if it is recognizably a painting OF something.

My friend Michael, Lois’ husband, is blind. Before he was blind, he aspired to be a painter. He’s studied art more than I have (or will). He gave me the big canvas on which I painted the crane among the willow saplings.

I want to show him my new paintings, but he can’t see. He can feel, however, so while he was here I put a couple paintings where he could feel them and I tried describing them. Michael knows I paint, and I’m sure my house smells of linseed oil, even if just a little bit. I know Michael likes talking about painting even though he can no longer paint. I’m not sure I would if I were in his moccasins, but he does. We agreed that a painting needs a tactile quality.

I don’t know how well I did “showing” the paintings with words. Michael knows colors, and I could have done better with that. The color he hasn’t seen is the lapis ultramarine and I’ve tried to describe it, but I don’t think he believes me. Synthetic ultramarine is very intensely blue, but lapis ultramarine isn’t. I did describe the moments in life that led to the paintings. Somehow that seemed relevant; if Michael could imagine the scene, the place, and the feeling he could “see” the painting even if just in his own terms. And, after seeing how he could actually remember the complex menu at the restaurant as his wife read it, I knew he’d follow my words even though I probably wouldn’t remember them. At one point he said, “I wish I could see them.” My thought then was very strange. “Well you can’t, but we have this. No, it doesn’t equal seeing the paintings but it’s not nothing.”

I didn’t say that out loud and the thought shocked me a little bit until I realized that is the mantra with which I make peace with my physical limitations. “Well, Martha, you can’t. But you can do this.”

So, $800 to fix Bear’s car.

Bear looks like a dirty bathroom rug this time of year. Teddy — as always — strikes a charming little Teddy pose. They’ve been out playing all morning.

Quotedium Update 97.2.ix

Had a great time yesterday with my visitors though I think I probably talked more than my share. OH well… They were good stories. Michael says I should write them, but I don’t know. Lois brought me a little picture that was done by my brother in years gone by. I guess that set me off.

I don’t often tell people the stories of my brother’s sad and destructive life, but somehow, I cut loose yesterday. Lois was a friend of my brother back in their high school days, and I met her because of my bro. When he died, a friend of his and I made a page for him on Facebook and Lois popped up. She held a wake for him. I didn’t meet her in real life until two years later! From time-to-time we thank Kirk for that. Listening to my babbling, I saw that of all the things my brother was, maybe top of the list was that he was a tortured soul.

Otherwise Teddy and I took a walk in the morning — my first in two weeks. The wind was blowing unbelievably hard and even little low-to-the-ground Teddy was looking for shelter which he got by walking behind me. We only walked half a mile because more would have been masochistic. The featured photo is a photo of the wind.

I hung out with Lois and Michael the rest of the day. They came over with their two sweet dogs whom Bear knows well but Teddy had met only once. Teddy’s manners with guests are still abysmal, so I leashed him. Lois took a family portrait.

We ate supper at our favorite local Mexican restaurant (yum) and then headed out to the Refuge hoping to catch whatever cranes might still be there. I heard cranes during our morning walk, so I know there are still quite a few. No luck with cranes, but great luck with the alpenglow on Mt. Blanca and sighting a large herd of elk deep in the meadow. Here’s Lois’ photo of Mt. Blanca last evening.

The thing I’ve learned about the San Luis Valley is that you might not see what you set out to see, but you will see something that will inspire wonderment.

I’m tired today, but very happy not to be sick any more. It’s the best.

The OTHER best yesterday is the indictment of TFG.

Strange Post from a Still Confused Brain, but One who Went Out into the World for the First Time in 10 Days

My friends Lois and Michael, who live in Colorado Springs, are staying nearby in a very nice cabin outside Del Norte. We met for supper. It was a little surreal for me as the Cold from Hell — though mostly gone — still lingers and yesterday wasn’t the best day. It was strange to see people, meaning the restaurant patrons, after 10 days basically in the house. I was troubled by my (newly- won?) anti-social nature, but then remembered I’ve been very sick. I feel bad because I haven’t seen my friends in what seems like forever. I want to be fully present, but instead I’m tired and grumpy. OH well.

There’s nothing like being sick to make a person grateful not to be.

As per usual, at the restaurant there were guys in c’boy hats, brims all turned in basically the same way but not exactly.

I remembered when I was a kid back in the Pleistocene, no man would wear his hat at the table. Restaurants in the far west (which this is) all had places for men to hang their hats, often right there at the booth where they were sitting. Booths often had high walls between them which gave the restaurant a place to for hat hooks where men could watch their hats. Men came in, walked to the booth, greeted their friends, tipped their hats, said, “How de do?” and hung up the hat. That memory is so old that it’s as dim as reality has been lately.

It’s interesting how manners change. I don’t know why men once removed their hats; I don’t know why now they don’t. 🤠

Menus have changed over the years, too, something in my normal state of mind I wouldn’t notice. I’ve eaten at that restaurant a hundred times and just ordered food. But… Michael is blind and as Lois read the menu to him I had two thoughts. One, Michael is a musician and his ears actually capture things. He was getting what Lois was saying. I wouldn’t have. It would have gone in one ear and out the other without an iota of comprehension.

The other was that almost nothing on the menu is basic. There were maybe a dozen different kinds of hamburgers — on the top of the list is a basic burger, but the rest are things like this, “Popper Burger: Roasted jalapeños, bacon & Cream cheese served with orange marmalade.” You could even choose what KIND of burger (elk, Angus, or locally raised grass-fed beef). As Lois read, Michael absorbed the information and was able to make a choice. I could never have done that! Everything on the menu is described to the nth detail, and the ingredients are arty-farty. It was a word salad for me.

I thought of the days when you sat at a counter and there was a short-order cook. I wondered which was easier for a restaurant; an enormous menu detailing options or a situation where the patron just asked for what they wanted. Michael made a way better choice than I did. Choices confuse me.

Feeling more with the program today, but still weak, mildly irritable, and tired. Never, never, never again will I call a cold “just” a cold.

A Walk with People!!??!!

Today (Tuesday) my friends wanted to go out to the Refuge with me for a walk. That almost never happens. Wow! No dogs, either. Just people…

This is truly THE quietest time of year out there. It’s the lull before the ponds are filled, the waterbirds return, and the people come to look at them. I love it, I love the silence and the solitude though a few hopeful crane tourists are already coming through to see if they get an early glimpse.

I pointed out muskrat nests and stuff and pretty soon my friends were each doing their things that they do. It struck me how we’ve been sharing outings — adventures — for 8 years and we know each other. It’s wonderful and we had a really good time. The beauty, the space, the silence all soothe people and before long they were standing there looking out at whatever it is we stand and look out at.

People walk differently than dogs, faster and with more consistency and this time of year my asthma is kind of a problem so I had some problems keeping up and the need to stop from time to time to control my breathing. I have a rescue inhaler but I don’t like to use it much. I will if I need rescue, but if I just need to stop it makes more sense just to stop. My friends are tolerant. The fact that I’m somewhat physically “less” doesn’t bother me any more. The way I see it it doesn’t matter; what matters is that I’m out there nearly every day in every kind of weather — even rain and Deer Flies, both of which I’m not crazy about. Thunderstorms are another thing. I’ve been known to retreat. Anyone would. It happens out there that even at my elevated stature of 5’1″ (154 cm) I might be the tallest thing around.

I felt very happy seeing that what I get at the Refuge, my friends were getting. After our walk I took them out to see “the tree” — a huge cottonwood we thought was dead but isn’t. I did a painting of it in 2020. Then I took them to see a new area the Refuge people have built up for the crane tours. Last year they planted sunflowers as a cover crop for the barley. It was beautiful and the dried sunflowers still stand over the barley which isn’t cut but is left for the cranes to fuel them on their long journey north.

A couple weeks ago I saw a beautiful white feather., but when I went back to pick it up, I didn’t find it. I thought the wind had caught it or? I found it today. It seems to be a tail feather from a Sandhill Crane though there are a couple of other less likely possibilities, one is a Snow Goose. They do pass through here from time to time, but not commonly.

Here’s a song by one of my favorite singers from the time I was a kid and even still. I got to hear him a couple of times live in San Diego. Frankie Laine lived in San Diego and sometimes he would perform in some not-particularly-fancy place like the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park which is right under the flight path for planes landing at Lindbergh Field.

This song still gives me chills.

More Quotedium Musing…

After a night of pretty much no sleep (why?) here I am again with the coffee, the dogs, the rawhide pencils and the word for today is recharge. Boy, that hit a chord, but I have no idea how to effect that — though I could definitely use it. (Another gulp of coffee.)

A few days ago I woke up and realized that the long covid had finally gone. It was a very strange feeling. Little by little over the past six months — that monster has finally completely wandered off.

But now what? I feel a little disoriented, awakening in a different world.

I started cleaning out/up the studio. Not with anything particular in mind. I have no inspiration and the paints are very very very cold, sort of like cold butter or margarine. My studio isn’t heated and it really is as cold as a refrigerator in there. I have a glimmer of a painting in the back of my mind and I think it will probably happen. It will be a landscape, of course. I sense it will have a backstory, though. It won’t be “just” a landscape. I think it’s going to be a picture of my life from last July to, well, more or less, now.

I keep wondering why I paint at all since everything just ends up packed carefully in boxes in the garage, but whatever. I like to paint. I could either work harder to find a gallery or accept that I’m painting things to box up and put in the garage. To be fair, though, a couple are wrapped carefully and kept in the spare bedroom.:-) My house is small; the walls are old-school lath and plaster. Hanging something is complicated AND the walls a pretty full anyway. One of the paintings needs a frame. That will happen when I’m paid for reading the books sometime this spring.

ChatGPT would say (of itself) that it’s designed to do what it does, so it does it. I guess I can look at painting the same way. It’s what I do; maybe I was designed to paint. 😀

Yesterday my neighbors and I met at E’s house for a tea party that turned out to be a birthday party for me. E made cheesecake for the event and gave me a pair of beautiful handmade wool socks. I haven’t really hung out with anyone for the past several weeks other than interviewing people. I’ve been reading books and writing an article oh yeah and getting sucked into ChatGPT. For various other reasons, the three of us haven’t been able to get together since before Christmas.

So… here’s hoping we all get the recharge we need so we can…

Oh God…

❄️ It’s Snowing for REAL!!! ❄️

My friend Sally was always up for deep conversations and was known to start them. One of the strangest was on a Christmas Eve. She’d read a blog post on my old Blogger site, and as soon as I sat down at the table in the Chinese restaurant she said, “I finally understand your understanding of God.” I’ve since learned this Chinese restaurant thing wasn’t just Sally’s odd tradition — a lot of people do it, maybe because of a movie? Maybe because once upon a time only Chinese restaurants were open on Christmas Eve? No idea.

I think I said, “Merry Christmas, Sal!” in response. Who’s ready to hear about their understanding of God first thing sitting down at a restaurant with a few friends and a few strangers? Most people need a little time to settle in. Sally was 12 years older than I. She had been the real 60s person back in the, uh, 60s, traveling North Africa with her husband, two blond daughters, and a VW van. She remained philosophically a hippy all her life, and these cosmic questions always interested her.

“I read your blog post. I get it. Immanent. Immanence.” Wow. She’d actually WONDERED about my spiritual orientation?

“Huh?” I’m not thinking about God at that moment. I’m thinking of mapo tofu. We get menus. I look through the pages for mapo tofu.

I tried to get what she was saying, but it sounded like mumbo-jumbo to me. The idea that there are philosophies of God? I get that on a theoretical level, and that people have killed each other over these philosophies and will probably always kill each other over them. That they argue about the supremacy of their religious philosophy and, like Sally, think about it, name it, talk about it, and I’m talking about it now because of the prompt this morning, but I felt strange. Everyone at the table was listening.

“I don’t understand, Sal. ‘Immanent’ to me means ‘about to happen’.”

“No. That word is ‘imminent‘. ImmANent means part of something, intrinsic to something, part of its nature. There’s no someday with your understanding of God. God’s not ‘transcendent,’ outside somewhere, but right here, right now.”

I was happy to know what the word means, and I felt stupid for not knowing that there were two words; imminent and immanent since I’m the god of language, but otherwise, I was confused. Why would Sally have wondered about my understanding of God? I ordered mapo tofu. It wasn’t great. I don’t like it with fried tofu.

“Where did you get that, Sal?”

“From that blog post you wrote about your grandmother and Christmas and the blind guy and ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’. Am I right?”

“Well, I guess, but…” I had never thought about it, but Sally was right.

P.S. I don’t have a problem with the word God. It’s a word for the inexplicable. I’m not going to go around saying, “Well, I was talking to the Inexplicable the other day when I was out at the Refuge with Bear…”

Shoveling is imminent… Maybe Langlauf is imminent (never know, doubtful, but maybe)… Maybe a dog walk (a little more sure of that)… There’s no picture of joy greater than that of two happy, furry dogs racing each other in new snow. For every three steps Teddy takes, Bear takes one, but he’s still ahead of her. I think she LETS him win.



You just don’t know. I got the news that John Patterson — the “Farm Art” guy about whom I wrote an article published last month — died this morning. I want to close the book on this for now so I’m writing this post.

When I saw John at the Potato Festival on September 8, I was sure he recognized me as a person he kind of knew but not really. I mentioned this to my friend Lois who’d just bought something from him and she used my name, “Martha something something.” Then John knew who I was. We chatted — not small talk though still the usual thing about how I ended up here. Everyone is curious about that. I told him that I felt I’d been put here somehow. I told about having painted the area that is the Refuge before I’d seen the San Luis Valley. He said he thought that kind synchronicity happened a lot but people weren’t aware of it. As we were walking back to my house, I thought, “I’ll see if the magazine wants an article about John.” It seemed very important.

As we know, I’m afraid of men at a certain level of my being, and I was a little leery that John might think something that wasn’t the case. I was actually nervous about that when I went out to interview him. He had a strong and magnetic personality that most people felt. I felt it. But ever onward… Still, I couldn’t explain why I felt I MUST write about John. It was a feeling propelled by a kind of urgency.

Our interview lasted two hours and we had a lot of fun talking. He was just that kind of guy who probably never met a stranger. The article wasn’t hard to write even though I had nearly 2 hours of verbiage to condense into about 1000 words. I didn’t make that and the editor asked me to cut 400 but I kind of made her meet me in the middle and it ended up 1200 words.

And so, John, who was in a terrible car crash on November 12, and who has been in the hospital most of this time, died today. The cause of death is not known. I suspect his heart might have given out resulting from the challenges he’s had getting enough oxygen, but I don’t know. And now my article is a eulogy. It’s creepy, like a giant mind — the one that brought me here — reached out and said, “This person has only a couple months left, but he needs his story told BY YOU.” The story helped raise some money for what will now be final expenses. Is that why?

The world is full of good people who are loved by others, most of whom no one ever knows about. They’re not famous except maybe locally. They’re not empty fucks like Elon Musk or the younger royals or the Kardashians. People like John are legitimate human beings, good people, who work, and love, and create from the lovely vision of their minds and eyes. They are part and parcel of their community, home and family. Brilliant, thinking people who aren’t jonesing for empty notoriety. Some call them “ordinary people,” but there’s nothing ordinary about them. There was a moment — after I had written a novel that is actually fucking brilliant, complex, meaningful, inspiring, and beautiful — that I knew that I was one of THESE people. I knew that there were millions of us all across the generations and I was proud — AM proud — to take my place among them. As a young person, I maybe had different ideas, but 38 years in the classroom taught me some important lessons.

A lot of people will miss John. I will. His family is planning stuff like the now popular Life Celebration somewhere down the road (literally). As for me, I’m stunned by the inscrutable power of what John called “Synchronicity” that drove me (and my car) down the road to spend a couple hours with him just two months before he died. Crazy, but that I’m here in this place is also a little crazy.

Here’s the article I wrote about him and shared here on WordPress not long ago. 

To find a little solace, the dogs and I headed out to the Refuge. As we were leaving I was struck by the changing light over the San Juans. I stopped Bella — my Jeep — to watch it, and Cheech and Chong’s silly Santa bit from the olden days came on the radio. I put the Bella in park and took photos of the changing light through my windshield while I listened to that antediluvian silliness and laughed. 

That helped more than anyone would expect.



O Fortuna…

Last night I learned that a friend was in a terrible car accident a couple weeks ago — his car vs. a truck — on the highway that runs north and south through Colorado, but only a few blocks from me. The victim is the junk sculptor I interviewed last month. I’ve always liked him, but didn’t know him until I got the idea of interviewing him for Colorado Central Magazine. That led me to a two hour chat with him in his work shop last month. We had a blast. As I left — thanking him — he thanked me for the interesting conversation. 😮

I tried to keep the interview focused, but he and his workshop made that difficult. Neither of us is very linear and the interview was 2/3 interview and 1/3 random discussion and discovery. I sent him the draft of the article. He liked it and wrote back, “Thank you so much for feeling the spirit of my Art!” Anyway, I contacted the magazine last night and told them. They’re going to put the article up online with the GoFundMe link.

John’s going to make it, but his care and rehab will be incredibly expensive and slow. And, as he said, “I only have 3 circles.” He works on a potato and barley farm and that’s his portion. John is kind, authentic, friendly — a whole lot of good adjectives. A lot of things in his body were broken and repair was touch and go. Godnose how rehab will be. I hope he’ll be able to come back to his shop and put more things together as he loves to do.

I don’t really want to say the same old thing, “We never know,” because we all KNOW we never know.

OTHERWISE, to my immense surprise, Bear wanted to go with me and Teddy yesterday. It was balmy for late November and the light was beautiful. As we were on our return, I saw two people approaching — a very tall man and a very petite woman. These are the only two other walkers I ever see out there. They are very nice and the love the dogs and the dogs love them, so there was much petting of dogs and chatting and “I always love to see you out here!” Apparently last time Teddy scratched the woman’s arm and that led to an infection. We agreed it was Teddy’s nails, the dirt from the road, and his overweening enthusiasm. The critical moment for socializing Teddy was 2020. He never jumps on me, never, ever, ever, but he doesn’t generalize from “Martha” to “human beings” I think because I was more or less a unique entity during that important juncture in the development of his hyper-active Aussie brain. I felt really bad about the scratch and infection, but the woman felt bad about my feeling bad, so… I held Teddy down so she could pet him because she really wanted to.

Then we were on our way. It’s an interesting thing that they — and I — go out there for the quiet and solitude and are very happy to meet, and chat with, others who are out there for quiet and solitude.

There isn’t much snow left and, of course, what’s there isn’t real snow but what snow evolves into after a week of deep cold, heavy frost, and sun, but Bear was happy when it was her turn to smell and wander. My fitness app (grrrrrr) tells me that when it’s Teddy’s turn, we walk 3 mph (and he’s pulling). When it’s Bear’s turn, we walk 1.2 mph and, for some reason, Teddy isn’t pulling. I think he understands. Here’s the snow angel Bear made in what’s left. No, not the shadow. That’s me.


I woke up this morning laughing and I’m still laughing. It’s not that dreams never come true but…

Here’s what made me laugh. My friend Michael has long dreamed of going to the Grand Canyon and one thing after another has stopped him — sometimes literally, like the time he and Lois were ALMOST THERE and their little RV broke down and they were truly stuck on the side of the road. Once rescued from THAT by a tow truck, they holed up in a little motel in an obscure desert town until they could drive home. No Grand Canyon. There were a couple other misadventures on other attempts. We were all going one December but when we finally priced the whole trip we were planning — which included a train ride and a nice hotel — we were all priced out. THAT was Karma. We were trying to run away from Christmas. Anyone knows you can never run away from Christmas. Well, Michael finally made it to the Grand Canyon, but not before he had lost his vision. Somehow he was still happy about it. ❤️

Lois just bought the most beautiful horse in the world, a life’s dream, really. But how she got there involved the death of the great friend of her youth with whom she used to ride horses. It’s a long story, and not mine to tell, except the upshot was that when her friend died almost a decade ago Lois decided to get back on the horse. Since then she’s taken an inspiring journey to becoming a real horsewoman. I have been acquainted with Lois’ horse since the horse was little more than a colt, and she’s not just beautiful, she’s friendly, intelligent, and bonded to Lois. Not all that prone to spooking, either. 🐎

And me. My one of my life’s dreams was to be an international news correspondent. It looks like the magazine is paying for me to go to Del Norte to cover the fancy benefit dinner for the restoration of the log cabin that was the Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach Station. And I’m thrilled. 😀

That’s how things go in this best of all possible worlds.

Today’s Facebook memories brought me something from the goodle days of teaching. Too good not to share.

Featured photo: Where the elk passed through?

Quotidian Update 9 x 10 to the umpteenth power.4.ix

Another quiet morning in the Back of Beyond. Cloudy (huh?) and soft all around. Yesterday in the morning the dogs and I went out for a ramble (calm down, calm down, I know it’s surprising, but really, take it easy). It was a crisp and lovely morning. I saw cranes grazing in a field as I was driving to the Refuge and my heart gave a little spring. “Maybe???”

I can act blasé, but I’m not. I hoped to see and hear them on our walk and we did. Right now the wooly bears are crossing the road all over the place. I had to tell them, “Little guys, you’re way too small for anyone in a car to see, so BE CAREFUL.” They didn’t pay any attention. The dogs are VERY interested in them. Halfway on our adventure ( relative term, Sir Richard Francis Burton) I heard the cranes and soon after I saw them. I think Bear noticed them before I did because she stopped in front of me. It was great.

On our way home, my phone rang (meaning my watch) and my friend Lois and her husband were on their way back from the Grand Canyon and wondered if I could meet for lunch in Del Norte. I had just enough time to get the dogs home, clean up a little and drive to Del Norte to meet them. What a great surprise! Lois’ husband, Michael, has long wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but every time they tried to go, some misadventure befell them. Now, he can’t see due to macular degeneration, but they went, they got there and within his range of abilities — known only to Michael — he finally saw the Grand Canyon.

My friend’s photos made me want to go. Like Lois and Michael, my attempts to see the Grand Canyon have been met with frustrations. It could happen… If it does, it will probably be one of life’s superlative experiences. No, I don’t have any expectations… 😉

All this made me think of the mystery of love in our lives, and I thought again of a passage in a book by Jack Kerouac where he describes what he felt driving away from his friends — this time they happened to be William S. Burroughs and his family — somewhere in Texas. He wrote that as he drove away they became smaller and smaller until they were swallowed by the immense sky of the American West. I’ve spent all but one year of my life in that very American West and the sky IS vast. I remembered thinking — soon after I moved to Southern California — that we were all trapped there between the desert and the ocean, and all we could do was parade up and down, north and south, on one freeway or another, but the skies were still pretty big, though not really vast. In time I got a more accurate view of So Cal and that perception changed, but here? From the first, the immense and changing sky of the San Luis Valley won my heart. I paint it, I photograph it, I look at it, I live under it.

We finished lunch and said our good-byes. There was something I wanted to see in Del Norte so I went one way and they went another, to cross the valley and be swallowed by a mountain pass that would disgorge them into the vastness of the American prairie.

Lois photo of what greeted them when they cross the mountains

I drove around the very small town of Del Norte until I found what I was looking for. Del Norte’s back streets (many of its streets) are dirt roads and some of the houses and garages back there are log cabins, a few log covered with adobe. I haven’t driven around back there before, and I saw a lot of things to paint if I wanted to, but at the moment I don’t know what I’m doing as an artist.

I was looking for the city hall across from which is a park. In that park is the original station for the Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach. Once on the main drag (my street) it was moved to make way for a Family Dollar store. I imagined a time when friends passing through Del Norte would have to spend the night on their way to cross the same pass. Their journey home from here would take weeks back in the “olden” days. There would be no phone call on a Dick Tracy watch, either, alerting me of their arrival.