Letters from the Editor

Red is the new yellow

Many Santa Fe drivers not only ignore yellow when red nears: a few (including cops) zoom through the new red. Red is just a warning. Folks with green have to stop: mass has right-of-way.

Red is the new yellow; turn signals and speed limits are signs of habit for many, not all (including cops). Guess.

A sign of climate change? February has become the new March. We heard it might be a mild winter. This winter we walked Santa Fe malls. As mid-February warmed we took to Santa Fe’s pedestrian trails.

In winter we chose between the “old mall” and the “new mall”. (The old mall, DeVargas, opened in 1973. The new mall, Santa Fe Place—originally Villa Linda—came in 1985.)

All too common in Santa Fe, the malls suffer several boarded-up storefronts—a sign of Walmart and Amazon. We walked past them, along with “Coming soon…” signs in the new mall. Ever there is hope.

How much more pleasant to walk the trails. Santa Fe has laid a number of wide well-paved pedestrian and biking trails. The hope is to lace the entire city.

One trail includes a frisbee golf course marked for three levels of play, with tees and signs for goal baskets. Walkers often draw plastic bags from boxes at many trail entrances to pick up their pooch poop.

Peds and bikers may enjoy signs. On the River Trail we saw bright orange “Construction Ahead” signs. A flagger sign: I could imagine a pilot walker with a red bandana leading a lane one way, then turning to lead some of the other direction’s traffic.

There was no flagger. Nearby a huge machine moved dirt and boulders to control (beautify?) the Santa Fe River’s path. (“River”? Folks elsewhere might think it an unnamed creek, sometimes a dry gulch. In monsoon season it might flood. Or maybe not.)

Peds and bikers get other odd signs. “Pedestrian detour” might warn peds of a new wall or pothole repair blocking a sidewalk. Railway crossings may have several warnings to read (or ignore). A railway crossing may have several signs, including a descending bar with flashing lights—a smaller version of the one on the large street nearby.

Of Santa Fe’s several bookstores, the new mall once had our favorite (and another unfavored). This one closed and moved to a downtown center near the railway terminus. (Our unfavorite went to the old mall.)

That small railway center later closed, and its stores moved—most of them to the old mall but one to the new mall. Our favorite bookstore vanished. Still, Amazon hasn’t eaten all of Santa Fe’s bookstores. One whose storefront isn’t boarded up (yet) is in the old mall.

In the old mall, Jill bought a signed dead tree book by Michael McGarrity. I bought one of Craig Johnson’s first Longmire books. I’m taking a dead tree break from my Amazon addiction.

Yesterday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a gift of $10 billion to fight climate change. That’s about 7.9% of his “net worth”. Many snide comments included “a drop in the bucket.” He should have started with cleaning up Amazon’s act.

I guess if he’d started with cleaning up Amazon’s act the gripe might be that he should’ve started with some of his many bucks—at least a pittance. At least a pittance be a sign of concern. Your green pittance, please?

I opened my dead tree book at bedtime. At chapter 4 Longmire pushed his “spine into the depression in the mile-marker post and eased [his] weight against its scaly green-painted surface.” He said he was “having a moment of grace.”

I read about the green post, then turned a few more yellowed pages.

Then sleepy eyes made me stop.