Our fantastic Casita was everything we could ask for in a home away from home and was a lovely walk from the Plaza.
We made an unexpected change for our first meal, enjoying Italian at il piatto rather than the New Mexican that is our go-to. We’re so glad we did, with yummy wine, a fab Caesar salad, scallops, mussels, and the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted. The pretty roasted pear panna cotta wasn’t too shabby, either. Our resident chocoholic adored it!
What made it even better was our fine server, named Greg (I know!!). He and his girlfriend moved from Long Island to Santa Fe on a lark back in December, after she whispered in his good ear. A great story! We hope all that is wonderful about Santa Fe keeps them there.
The light! The adobe! They don’t call it the Land of Enchantment for nothing.
Our cutie pie was weary of the fire. It made noises at her. We made up for it with long walks, extra treats, and cuddle after cuddle.
San Jose de Gracia Church in Las Trampas, looking much as it did when it was built, circa 1770 – 1776. I stand in awe of the strength of such modest and beautiful structures.
The friendliest conquistador greets us at Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayo. It is a cooperative run by Lisa and Irvin Trujillo, some of the finest weavers in the world. They were off on a rare vacation, and their daughter Emily was our wonderful guide. She was warm, funny, modest (You’re lovely and big hearted. Be kinder to yourself!), highly knowledgeable, and let us see the back room, where the hand dyed yarns, many of which with insects and local plants, were in full splendor.
I also appreciated her patience, as I initially couldn’t decide between two weavings by Victoria Verry. After a bit of hemming and hawing, I bought them both. Which reminds me, I also bought a weaving in Mora, and will show them all to you in my final post, in a round up of our treasures.
El Santuario de Chimayo is considered one of, if not the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in the United States. It is no doubt magical and beautiful (no photos allowed of the interior, sadly), but my reasons for visiting were not of the typical variety. I believe my Great Grandmother Esquipula, who was born nearby in 1825, was named for the original church and most definitely, along with many of my local ancestors, attended mass here.
The thrumming in my heart, all those joyful spirits cozied up beside me as I sat in contemplation, was utterly spellbinding, and, no surprise, brought me to tears.
If ever you decide to visit, be sure to make a stop at El Potrero Trading Post. They have a wonderful selection of milagros, local beans and chiles, sweet treats, and every manner of Chimayo treasure.
To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.
As my 49th year saunters ever closer, and mere days after Greg and I celebrated a wild and wonderful 29th (!) year since our first date, much thought has been bubbling. On who I am, this western place that is home, and our couplehood.
I feel more and more centered, in body and spirit, than ever. More honest, stringent, and strident. My intolerance weeding more and more people from my life. I am shucking those who are irresponsible and unkind, who place demands of adults on children too young for the burden, those blinded by an embittered victimhood and confusing love with control (If you loved me you would…). My desire for balanced relationships nudged ever more to the fore.
I have no social media link: no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. I am here on this old fashioned blog form, and likely mostly alone. I honestly have no idea. It brings the hubster and I great joy to read and reminisce, and that is the best I could ask for, really and truly.
Before quitting Facebook last summer, I experienced a general sense of unease. Some of it was my use as a pawn in the Zuckerberg machine, and some political, too, but I also had this impression of being among people speaking a language I did not know. Groundless. It’s strange, too, because, I’d been in that space for nearly a decade and had enjoyed it enormously at times.
Then the shift came, when I realized that relationships have a season in life. Change and death are as natural as growth, without an ounce of malice or regret. Time and distance separated me from individuals I’d known or never truly connected with in the first place. Yet this world opened up to me, and I sent and accepted requests for friendships that were out of season. There were exceptions, of course, but relatively few, and I have kept in contact with the majority of those people. It feels right.
And to this place – Southern Colorado and New Mexico, where my heart shall be forever rooted. My eyes gaze upon it, joy-filled and centered. The land of ancestors and new dreams. The scent of sage and pine. And that big, blue sky.
I suppose it is no surprise that we celebrated our 29th year in this very space, first to Las Vegas, of course. But then, forging a new path, on our way to Santa Fe, between Mora and Espanola, part of which is the famous High Road to Taos.
The above constitutes the highlights from Las Vegas to Mora. The St. Vrain Mill, which would be lovely restored, and our hike above the Fish Hatchery, with glorious views of the entire Mora Valley. Though the photo of Juniper and I doesn’t show it, the wind was a wild whipping force, and frigid, too.
Mora, and the majority of the High Road, for that matter, is known for wool and world famous weaving, with some families the seventh or eighth generation practicing the craft. We did not miss out, stopping at the Mora Valley Spinning Mill. They have locally processed yarn and weavings and every manner of art and craft, staffed by kind and efficient staff. It’s worth the trip!
As is the beauty of grace, at the moment our hunger verged on unbearable, we rounded the bend in Penasco, the sweet murals and Sugar Nymphs Bistro awaiting. The wood stove was roaring, the coffee was hot, and the food as delicious and enchanting as New Mexico itself.
The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.