Welcome! This is GODDAMN BUFFALO!
PERSONAL ESSAYS AND VISIONS from 7,000 feet. For some who end up in the Terrible High Desert™ and mountains of northern New Mexico, the starkness is a kind of medicine. There’s something alien and ancient here that doesn’t need us…
Here’s something the late Bill Whaley inscribed in my copy of his Taos memoir Gringo Lessons not so long ago. After all that’s gone down over the last two decades, it couldn’t have pleased me more.From the introduction to ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE: Notes from Taos:
“You're one of the few who arrived and immediately experienced the spiritual imagination of the place and appreciated it in an articulate and instinctive way. What intrigues me is how many people move here and are tone deaf. I can't figure out why they are here since they might as well live in Colorado: beautiful but soulless...the chthonic spirits are absent. ‘Course sometimes a man needs relief from the resonating spirits. They can drive you mad.”
-Bill Whaley: Taos writer (Gringo Lessons), publisher (Horse Fly)
How well I know. Kathleen Jane Mills and I moved here from Kent County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the summer of ’99, surely the biggest thing we ever did together except for getting married in the first place. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of my first book,
“Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.”
Against the backdrop of el Norte with its brutal Nature and the ghosts, however, you need to know that Kathy went to heaven without me in the spring of 2021. She was the one, and so much of my writing since has been related. We were married over 40 years. In the immediate aftermath, I managed what I had to do at first but after that it got much rougher. Deeper, I think, and out of my control. That last part is a blessing once you understand, but I’ve never known such loss and sadness. The signs are getting better now. Photos like the one below from over 20 years ago in San Cristobal make me smile. I found a 10-year old anniversary card from her today and read,
“To my dear love, John Hamilton—the places we have been, the things we have done! What a life together!”
The consequences are still unfolding. I’ve spent the past year writing about little else. May you be as loved as I was…
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