Trementina is about edges.

"Never being, but always at the edge of Being."
- Stephen Spender


      I don't normally fake or alter the photos I show on this homepage (cropping doesn't count). The photo of Trementina above is the first exception and will probably be the last. The way I feel about Trementina, though, can't be captured exclusively in words, so I need to rely partially on images to get my message across.


  • COUNTY:  San Miguel
  • LOCATION:  4 miles east of NM 104 and 15 miles east of Trujillo
  • POST OFFICE: 1901-present
  • NAME ORIGIN:  "Trementina" meants turpentine - there are pine trees in the area

     First, some history. There are two Trementinas - the new one on NM 104, and the old one just a few miles down the road. The old Trementina, formed around 1900, is little more than stone foundations now. The Depression and World War II enlistments siphoned people from the town, the last occupant leaving in 1955. The remains are on private property, but you can see much of them, including the wall around the cemetery, from the roadside.

     Now, some thoughts. Trementina is about boundaries. It's about edges. Edges scare me because they join two opposite things: here and there, in and out, up and down. Edges scare me also because it doesn't seem right that one thing should exist not only in itself but as the incidental result of two things coming into contact. What if you stray across the edge from here to there just before the two sides lose contact and the edge is gone? What happens to you?

     And that's Trementina.


     Let me try another way. As I drove through the new Trementina, then admired the stone foundations of the old town from the roadway, I had a strange feeling of being neither in the past nor the present; yet, at the same time, both. I was on an edge. Trementina is a boundary between its old self and its new, a chance meeting of the remains of its past and the new buildings of its present, yet it exists as neither self in its parts and both selves in its aggregate. I had the sense I was about to lose my footing there. And I felt that if I tripped, I would never stop falling. Step one foot over the dividing line and you might be forever lost.

     (Note: If this write-up isn't working for you -- and I understand that; no hard feelings -- look at the image above while listening to Frescobaldi's Toccata Prima from "Il Secondo Libro di Toccate" and you'll get the same feeling I'm recklessly trying to impart through words.)

     If the world itself had an edge, Trementina would be a good place for it. In fact, I'm not sure it isn't there already. Something was there, I'm sure -- some slender division between what's safe and solid and what...well, isn't. I took special care with my footing as I snapped pictures of both towns, not wanting to prove myself right. I was careful not to step accidentally into the other side, whatever that might be.

     I may just be imagining things, of course. Trementina might be a normal place, no edges, no boundaries, no contour lines that drop off into infinity.

     Someone should put up a guardrail, though, just in case.


(click on the thumbnail image to see a larger picture)

Sorry, no photos of old Trementina here, as it's on private property.

The schoolbuilding. I forgot
I had my blue filter on, hence
the blue cast.

This is the slide at the school
and the photo I doctored to
create the image at the top
of the page.

An old basketball
net waits to be