Boy, can I not wait for this year to be over! Who’s with me? Yesterday I found out that I need a root canal, which joins my wife leaving me and kidney stones as great things that have happened in the second half of 2010. Not all of these things are equal, of course, but the piling on could really stand to stop. Forgive my lack of posting lately, but sometimes trying to live one’s life overrides trying to chronicle it. Suffice it to say I don’t feel totally poetic lately.

A couple days ago, though, I joined my parents for a trip to Bandelier National Monument. I’d thought it was my first time ever there, but upon arriving I realized I’d been there briefly with my Dad once before, though not climbed up toward any of the cliff dwellings or anything terribly detailed. This time, I took lots of pictures so I wouldn’t forget:

The remains of the dwellings at the base of the cliff.

The holes in the cliff face are all either footholds or former dwellings.

The cliff face.

Looking up the cliff.

Cool formations, with a vista beyond.

The view from the cliff.

Dad with his camera.

Reminds me of Yosemite.

The old apartments.


The old community below the cliffs.

High rise.

Easy access.

Hole in the wall.


Dwellings more conveniently located.


The sign between my parents says “Do not handle the bats.” We saw no bats.

Winter scene.

The remaining snow.

Red wood.

At the base of an upcoming climb! (The camera case belonged to other photographic tourists.)

Going up…

A light in the distance.

High atop the cliff.

Streaked with airplanes.

Sunset in the distance.

The highest kiva.

Sun sets on the highest kiva.

Various distances.

From within the kiva.


The loneliest tree.

Going down, with people I don’t know.

I climbed down the ladders facing out from the wall, since they felt a little more like steps.

Looking back at where I stood, ensconced in the cliff wall high above.

My favorite tree in the park.

When I hit the parking lot, I thought the closest car was actually my car. From a distance, it even looked like it had yellow Jersey plates. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that they were Nuevo plates. Upon even closer inspection, it was revealed that the plates read “119 PFT”. As in 119, my current address in Jersey. As in pft, the dismissive onomatopoetic statement of derision. As in, maybe the idea of staying east is laughable. Yeah. This moved me pretty significantly, though it hasn’t managed to literally follow suit. Yet.

Nifty sign near the little village of shops and ranger housing near the visitor center.

On the drive home through the Jemez Mountains, we saw this gorgeous winter horizon.

Dad got out the binoculars to look at a distant herd of elk.

Aspens in snow.

Bonus shots from my parents’ camera: it’s me, looking strangely happy.

Bonus shot 2: me climbing.

Bonus shot 3: my mother and I on an untolled bridge.

Before the year ends, it’s supposed to snow again, my friend Brandzy is supposed to show up, and I may write in this space at least once more to sum up what has almost certainly amounted to the worst year of my life, despite the successes at Rutgers debate and the completion of my third novel. As I once told Mike Galya, there’s really only one portion of one’s life that really matters. 2011, you better be better.