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AH, SUMMER IN SANTA FE!


I just can’t tell you how nice it is to be back in Santa Fe with only a few comparatively short trips on the schedule for the next three months. Santa Fe is such a wonder at this time of the year. There are musical festivals, the Santa Fe Opera season, the chamber music season, the Site Santa Fe biennial, Indian Market, Art Santa Fe, a fantastic video installation and so many cultural events that one cannot help but miss a lot of them.

The weather is warmer than usual (mid 80s to occasionally the low 90s) but very dry, so we don’t have the discomfort of the more humid parts of the country. The daily breezes help and at night, the temperatures drop into the 50s. All of those outside concerts recommend a light sweater. Of course, the sky is that lovely turquoise every day and at night, the stars remind us that we are at 7,000 feet with no pollution or humidity.

I’m really enjoying working on my property a great deal and sitting out reading in the evening as the setting sun paints Glorietta Mesa across the canyon a glowing orange. Our home and land are within a National Historic Park so we are surrounded by wilderness and at night there are no lights.

So why am I going on like this? The first answer is because I love so much living this way. The second is that I know what a great contrast there is between my life and the people who attack me because I serve as an independent expert witness in court and know the truth about their activities and twisted postings online. My conscience is completely clear because I always act and speak ethically. I’m not tainted by the poison that must boil through the blood of those who try to smear me and my professional integrity.

The next trial in the on-going Dali Wars won’t start until sometime in 2011. That will be the most important one because it is about the authenticity of the Dali prints sold by Park West Gallery. Finally it will be possible to prove in court that every one is indeed authentic–whatever the misguided folks might claim. That’s so far in the future, however, and I’m so sure of the truth that I can forget about it for now and enjoy summer in Santa Fe.

One interesting event recently is the story of the two rattle snakes. One day I happened across a rattle snake while I was going out to the bird feeding platform. We serve about a ton and a half of seed every year and play host to up to 140 humming birds this time of year. We live surrounded by birds and other wildlife. Frequently we are awakened in the night as Kenai, my Malamute, joins the coyotes in song.

Oh, yes. The rattle snake….. It wasn’t very large and I was able to get an empty trash can and cover it so I’d know where it was when I returned with my pitch fork. I then tipped the can over, held the snake down with one tine of the fork just behind its head and maneuvered the other tines under it so I could lift and flip it into the can. I then put on the top, secured it with a bungee cord and took it up on the mesa for release. It had six rattles so I identified it as a pygmy rattle snake. They are not very large, but they are the most venomous. What a beautiful little creature.

About two weeks later, I happened across what appeared to be its double–probably its mate. This snake quickly disappeared under the garden shed and I’ve been looking for it ever since. Since they are not aggressive, it may have decided to move on and I may never see it again. If it is still around, I hope to catch it before my dogs find it.

Actually, my daughter, the PhD Wildlife Ecologist, tells me that only about one in four rattle snake bites involves the injection of venom. If a snake is being hassled or attacked, it bites to scare off its attacker, but if the attacker is likely to eat the snake, the venom won’t work fast enough to preclude that happening. The venom is saved to kill prey. I’ve moved and caught numerous rattle snakes of various sizes, but never been bitten. We always treat each other with sufficient respect that it always ends well for both of us.

Then too, rattle snakes are always courteous enough to warn me they are contemplating an attack. That’s much more civilized than the people who attack on the Internet without warning, provocation or justification.

Wherever you are, I hope you are also remembering to enjoy summer. Don’t let it pass without taking some time to do your favorite summertime activities. And remember, summer involves heat. If you complain about it rather than enjoying it, your complaints about winter’s cold won’t deserve much attention.