Rained Out

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by wjw on June 25, 2021

I’m in my happy place, which is to say Taos Ski Valley. But Nature is not in tune with my bliss.

We thought a few days in the cool of the mountains would be an antidote to the misery of the 100-degree parched desert of our home, and we were right. We got reservations on the top floor of a Bavarian-style chalet that is proving very comfortable, despite the narrow spiral stair up which we had to haul our bags. (Fortunately Christof, our landlord, was willing and able to help.)

(It should also be noted that the spiral stair was indefensible, in that it wound counterclockwise, which meant that any right-handed defender had no room to swing his sword. Design matters in these things.)

There are layers of archaeology in the Ski Valley, our own building being an example. It’s over 50 years old, and was built in a time when ski lodges were expected to look like little bits of Switzerland transported from the Alps. Other buildings from a later period are utilitarian, or modernist, or pueblo-revival monstrosities that ruin everyone’s sight lines.

I got in one mountain hike this morning, in which I discovered that my cardio-pulmonary system is not yet prepared for activity at the 9000-foot level, and that my newly-tilted pelvis makes it difficult to keep my footing on rough ground, particularly when I’m crossing a stream on stepping stones. I returned (with wet feet) to the chalet just ahead of the first downpour of the day, of which there were many.

It’s scheduled to rain all day tomorrow, and the next day too. So no more outdoor activities.

Which isn’t to say I’m miserable. I’m happy to be in the cool, surrounded by the scent of pine trees and the sound of the Rio Hondo pouring over rocks. If I’m stuck indoors, it’s no different than it was in home, where I was hiding from the heat in an air conditioned house. I have lovely country to look at, all green and lush and mostly vertical.

If I’m stuck indoors, I have plenty to do. Read, loaf, nap, and write a novel. We should all be so lucky.

John Appel June 25, 2021 at 11:17 pm

Perhaps the upper level was meant to be defended by a left-handed sword-wielder? In any case, enjoy the relative cool

John Wilson June 27, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Yes, we should all be so lucky.

I remember reading about a particular clan of Scots who had so many left handers that they built their spiral staircases counter-clockwise on purpose, while everyone else built spiral staircases clockwise. That might have been in one of the books by Barbara Tuchman which I can’t find right now, or it might be in The Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser.

The Steel Bonnets also contains a fun bit of trivia about the name Eliot: “Any permutation of l’s and t’s is said to be permissible except Elliott, which for some reason the family affect to despise. The old rhyme says:

The double L and single T
Descend from Minto and Wolflee,
The double T and single L
Mark the old race in Stobs that dwell,
The single L and single T
The Eliots of St Germains be,
But the double T and double L
Who they are, nobody can tell.”

wjw June 27, 2021 at 6:06 pm

How about Ellyat?

John Wilson June 27, 2021 at 7:46 pm

Good question… 🙂

How about this?

wjw June 28, 2021 at 12:58 am

But how did E.T. spell it?

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