Embracing the crossover

2015.10.23 RR Fall Pioneer Canyon004SM
Pioneer Creek, October 23, 2015 (Photos by Ellen Miller-Goins)

By Ellen Miller-Goins

It is a chilly fall morning as my friend Kimberly Ritterhouse and I walk up Pioneer Canyon in Red River. Despite the fact that it just snowed several inches in town – and at least eight inches up high – we are startled by the cold, having just emerged from a heated car with seat warmers.

Taoist philosophy teaches us to embrace wonder and joy and to flow with life. That is not a philosophy I have adhered to particularly well. I have always viewed the transition from fall to winter, and the transition from winter to spring, with resignation at best and, occasionally, with hostility.

2015.10.23 RR Fall Pioneer Canyon002SMIs it too much to ask that it be beautiful right up to mid-November when it would rain, freeze for several days, then snow two to three feet? I am not even sure how to make spring or — as we call it here, “mud season” — better, other than to pack my bags and go to Padre Island to windsurf as I once did as a starving ski instructor.

We picked Pioneer for its proximity to both our houses. Plus, we’re reasonably confident we won’t see many, if any, people and/or dogs so I let my dog Yuki off the leash so she can try to catch squirrels and drink from the ice-cold creek.

2015.10.23 RR Fall Pioneer Canyon003SMWe pick up the pace and talk, soon forgetting all about the chill and enjoying instead our conversation. Sunlight glistens on the still-wet trees and grass. A few colored leaves are still on display, some clinging to branches as if in defiance, some the inevitable “late peakers” as fall fades into the coming winter.

My walk with Kimberly reminds me that it is better to embrace the beauty to be found every moment of every day here in my beloved mountains.

2015.10.23 RR Fall Pioneer Canyon006SMWe are suddenly grateful that we live in Red River, a community that affords us the opportunity to take a 45-minute walk surrounded by beauty every single day. Come winter, we will don snowshoes and take the same path, explore different ones, or head to my “home turf,” the cross country ski and snowshoe area atop Bobcat Pass.

In the spring, I will take Yuki down the canyon toward Questa where the snow melts a bit sooner and the mud is… manageable. I will remember to “embrace wonder and joy” and gratitude.

I know Yuki does.

Yuki, Winter 2013 (Photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)




  1. I love it, thank you for bringing the mountains to me today in Dallas. I have been meaning to write and let you know how much I’m enjoying seeing your articles. It was good to see you and Linda the last time we were in RR. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Joy Martello

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