I study this photo when I have trouble squaring things away. Actually, I have a similar view walking home every night with Cowboy, Placitas dog pal No. 4, but these clouds brought more game than usual.

I guess it was the death of a friend in Santa Fe — Tom Day — that threw me out of whack last week. I thought a lot of him as a person and newspaperman and, even though I hadn’t seen him in years, I was stunned by his passing. And it sent me into one of those selfish mortality scares. He was in his late 70s and I am 10 years younger, but I tend to think of myself and my friends as rowdy, sure-of-ourselves 20 or 30 somethings, laughing, frozen in time. He was senior to most of us in the New Mexican newsroom in the mid-1970s and we looked up to him. You never are prepared for people like that to die.

My mother was in her first year of college when this picture was taken in 1948. She was 19 a year later, when I was born. I see innocence in her eyes. Her smile is happy and fearless. She lived only until she was 49, although she bore seven children and, I’m sure, learned a lot about life in her relatively short time. I’m also sure she loved her last place in Montana, with her three young girls.  Scan 13

It’s hard to know when things will end. My Santa Fe bicyclist friend was riding when he took his last fall. I’m glad my young heeler pal tolerates my slowing pace. Purely as a practical matter, I carry contact numbers for his care, should I drop.

Sometimes I wonder whether those ethereal pink clouds over my house are portents or good vibes. I end up thinking I am lucky to call this home and to see that sky. More and more, I see the connections to mother and friends. She brought me here and they helped me along.



Previously on Dream Ranch: Canyon Road, 1960.

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