Truchas Tales: PilarSally Delap-John has been writing of her painting adventures in New Mexico, where she has bought a home to also serve as studio and gallery.To paint the church at Pilar requires parking up a little, bitty non-road and then hiking with gear farther uphill. There was supposed to be a group going. The skies looked threatening, but I didn't want to be the light-weight, so off I went. When I arrived, I missed the little road/path to the sight. Took many tries backing up to get about ten feet. I took the even smaller, steeper track up the hill, backed in and parked. I was just getting things out when Freckles stealthily got out and disappeared over a ridge. I called and whistled, but no sign of her. I carried stuff up to the spot, kept looking for her, set up and started painting. I had upset a nest of very large ants, ones that you could see all of the parts of their bodies while standing. Slight adjustment in location. Later as I was into the painting I saw her on a road below, called and whistled and she kept going. I saw other dogs, so was just waiting for the snarling sound of a meeting. Later, she came quietly up and I took her to the van. It was then I saw that I was parked in part of a rock wall and cactus. The van sliding door would not close all the way. I tried and tried, but it wouldn't budge either forward or backward. I went back up and completed my painting - three hours total. Packed up and got out of there. I stopped at the Rio Grande, just a little way on. Tried the door again - no luck. Where the road meets the road to Taos, I got out and gave it one last heave and finally, it moved so I could close it. Did I mention I was the only one there to paint? That night at dinner I reached down to pet her and pulled out an inch and an half cactus thorn from her side.