A few weeks ago I jotted story starters on a pile of sticky notes. I thought I’d arrange them in some sort of preliminary order for compiling into a manuscript as I wrote. That didn’t work, so I stacked them back together. The beauty of sticky notes is that they stay in order. Over the last several days I’ve been peeling them off, one at a time, and writing that story. Today I got to the one about Indians. “Indians — knew how to live on this earth and survive w/what’s on it. ‘No tech!’ ”

Yikes, how will I ever turn that into a story? Writing about the Indians will be a huge challenge. A single story can’t begin to do them justice. To me, they were as pervasive a feature of Los Alamos life as pine trees. I didn’t see them so often, but their spirit was everywhere. In my thinking, they really owned the land. No, that isn’t right — they didn’t own it in the sense that we think of owning it. They were one with it. Or so it seemed to me. They were as natural a part of the land there as the deer and chipmunks.

I’ll write a few vignettes about going to San Ildefonso pueblo to watch dances, and seeing squaws sitting with jewelry for sale along the portico in front of the Governor’s Palace along the Santa Fe plaza. Stories of picnics at Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier National Monument where we hiked to the cliff dwellings and I sensed ancient spirits. Memories of Indian awareness will add depth to descriptions in other stories. Thoughts like “I wonder what this canyon looked like when Indians lived here?” or “I wonder if Indians ever came up here? What did it look like then?” belong in canyon stories.  Much of this will be composite memory, and detail overlay. How else could I get the sense of a sense?

And there were Mike and Eddy, the janitors at Aspen school. Mike was officially named Armando Martinez. He and Eddie lived in an apartment under the gym at Aspen school during the week, and on the weekends Mike went home to assume his duties as governor of Picuris Pueblo in Peñasco. Mike was my friend even after elementary school.

Yes, I have many things to write about Indians.