|on the road, Eagle Nest, N.M.|
But. The mountains are there, stoic. And the light changes a lot. Dynamic, characterful light. Aspens were flaming yellow. What is it that we do in US and Canada to famous towns that damages them so severely? The answer: a lot of things. The Dutch are better at letting towns and cities hold on to individual characters. Sometimes I wish people wouldn't travel so much (what a hypocrite!) Stay home, dig in, pay attention.
I read Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides' book about Kit Carson, when I was in Texas a few years ago, and brought it along to Taos. Kit Carson is a complicated figure. It's hard not to respect him even though sometimes he allowed other people do his thinking for him. The Navajos have a right to resent him. (He was more or less illiterate, and may not have known how much smarter he was than some of the dumbkopfs he worked for). Kit would have lasted about a minute in Taos, as it is now, before lighting out--probably for the same 'territory' Huckleberry Finn was headed for, when last seen.
Coming across Kit Carson's tombstone in the buzz of Taos-town on a busy Saturday reminded me of Anne Carson's poem, which I post by permission here. Maybe she is his great-great-granddaughter, after all.
Strange Hour (Outcast Hour)
3 a.m. cool palace roar of Oakland night.
Not even a siren then a siren far off.
Train passed a while ago now nothing.
Bare lightbulb in garage across the street who left it on.
Every sentence should contain a fact at least.
No one but myself ever seems to set foot on this balcony
strange to say.
Undertone of hatred I cannot eliminate
From my feelings of friendship for most people.
Clear at this hour.