I wish I had thought of that title.  Yes, it's i quotes. Yes, it's someone else's--Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times.  My hat is off to Thomas for writing about the threat of extinction, well, not just the threat: the reality of it. One of the most devastating numbers he gives--"The African elephant population is in drastic decline, having shrunk about 30 percent from 2007-2-14." This is unprecedented and reflects a population dropping by 8 percent a year due mostly to poaching.  Go read a book called...

I walk daily near my Las Cruces home, really a bit out of town across the banks of the Rio Grande beneath an ancient volcanic cone called Picacho Hill.  Farm land lies east and west of the Rio Grande so that my sunrises and sunsets feature not only the Organ Mountains in the distance but acres of chili, alfalfa, and pecan orchards. It's a lovely site despite the development--on up the road a golf course, ritzy houses, and BMW's during rush hour. I live in what I call "the...

Back when I was visiting Peggy Pond Church at her retirement facility in Santa Fe, I would arrive some mid-mornings to find a note on her door:  "Napping, come on in."  Peggy, a poet and writer in her 80's, was an early riser (4-ish), so 10 am was a perfectly respectable nap time.  In a little while she would emerge from her bedroom; as I waited I never failed to take note of a post card of a coyote stuck to her filing cabinet drawer. From l983 to l986...

It reminds me of the circumstances years ago surrounding the proposal to sink the nation's first high level nuclear waste "dump"( facility) in Deaf Smith County near my home.  There were meetings where inscrutably long documents in what seemed almost like another language circulated.  Some of us sat in our seats cradling them hoping the oral presentations would make more sense.  But there was a feeling talk was so much mumbo-jumbo.  After all, when the DOE left and the waste site with them (a rider on a Reagan...

I can't find the reference now, but I remember its essence.  Look upon the land and hold it in your heart for when it is taken away its memory remains. The speaker I do remember was a Lakota Sioux to his people at the onset of white encroachment and Indian removal. Memory often holds what is no longer--memory, the only way perhaps both to reach back and to move forward. I thought of this when I read of the 2.5 million honeybees inadvertently killed in South Carolina during a morning aerial...

Framed, just like that--what a picture.  But I didn't have my camera. Or binoculars.  I tried with the cell phone but even the zoom didn't bring him into focus.  And the window screen blurred what image it captured. There'd been foxes in my yard before.  Gray foxes.  The kind I think I saw when I was a kid out at the farm.   I've always said my nearly 100-year-old bungalow farmhouse on the outskirts of Vega, Texas was like living in a pasture.  And the foxes proved it.  When...

It was the yellow shirt I saw first.  A canary yellow tee-shirt against the parched bench he sat on.  But there was a flash of something else. "Are you a potter?" I blurted out, surprising myself with my spontaneous directness. (I'm normally rather shy and though I get accused of encouraging conversation on airplanes, think of myself as more of an observer than an aggressive talker.} "Hmmmm." I couldn't quite make out what Mr. Yellow Shirt was saying. But he kept marking--what some folks would call doodling--on a cup. A styroform cup, the kind...

It wasn't the first time I'd stood in front of an O'Keeffe painting.  There was the one at the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, Texas and of course all those at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.  This one, at the Harwood Museum in Taos, seemed special though. 1929.  She had already established herself as a major American artist and had visited New Mexico several times.  "Grey Cross with Blue" is one of her Taos paintings inspired perhaps by the Penitentes traditions or the famous Ranchos de Taos...

We were a group of writers at a University of New Mexico workshop in Santa Fe.  Ten of us poured over xerox copies and computers; the workshop leader, a faint redhead who looked vaguely like a recreational hiker--khaki shorts and pale checked shirt--shared our reading of the day: "Raptorous" by Brian Doyle. The piece had appeared in Orion, a prestigious nature/environmental magazine, and it had all the hallmarks of perfection: great voice, pacing, vivid language, and ever present surprise.  Doyle began by discussing facts about hummingbirds and riffed on...

Ok, so I know they are mostly like gazelles with muscle.  And they can dribble the ball like nobody's business and hit those three-pointers.  Today's women basketball players. In my day you were innovative if you had a jump shot.  Hook shots were still lethal.  And passing was prized over dribbling, maybe because none of us was a Globe-Trotter. But one of my special memories is being taken by Gene Haliburton, who worked at Vega schools and was a huge basketball fan, to a Wayland Flying Queen ballgame.  Who remembers...