It was an amazing day. My friend, Perla Kopeloff (Fiberspace) whose hands you see in the photo above, makes beautiful felted clothing. This is a reversible vest. I think it’s the most beautiful of many beautiful things she’s made. She sells some of her work through Artemesia, a small boutique on Bent Street in Taos, so when I go to Taos, it’s most often with her. I’m company in the car and it’s a chance for us to hang out. She’s amazingly productive and we don’t live in the same town, so getting together needs a little arranging. Still, We don’t see each other often enough.
The dogs stayed at “daycare” and it worked great. I didn’t need to worry about them at all, worry that they were bored or anything. I was free to spend more time and relax.
The journey down was full of wild and beautiful skies; rain, a full rainbow, the southern San Luis Valley pulled out ALL the stops today. It was magic. Taos was cloudy and cool, and it had rained so it was pleasant. It’s been a hard year economically for Taos — no snow and the town depends heavily on people coming in to ski over Christmas break.
It was nice to have a break from the usual, to have fun conversation with my friend who is originally from Argentina, has lived many places in the world and has always been a producing artist.
Here’s one shot of the sky — not great, but you get the idea. This is over the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, not far from Noahs Arff, the boarding kennel, where, this morning, I was lucky enough to see dozens of cranes, a black shouldered kite hunting and an osprey. 🙂
Here are photos of Perla’s work that we took to Taos today:
Vest, front, merino wool and silk
Infinity scarf, merino wool and silk
Long felted scarf, merino and silk
Rio Grande Gorge, outside Taos, New Mexico surprised me. I have been through Taos many times in my life but NEVER on the road that crosses this bridge. On both sides are vendors of all kinds — mostly Native Americans selling silver jewelry. And then the bridge and then the view. Since my trips to Taos are usually NOT tourist jaunts, I have yet to get out of the car and walk across the bridge. That’s kind of all right with me. I’m more than a little acrophobic. But, I have a plan to visit Taos on my own sometime after Christmas when all the hub-bub has died down, and Taos returns to the sleepy town of 1930 paintings. I’ll stop and cross the bridge then.
I love the geologic song of the river here as it chisels its way through the slowly uplifting layers of the east edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s a view into time.
“My” Rio Grande as it passes Monte Vista
I love this river. Yesterday walking beside it, listening to it, looking through the clear water, enjoying the promise of ice on the sides, already growing, I thought again of how lucky I am to have moved here more-or-less accidentally.
It’s a bit earlier than I usually write this and a bit earlier than I usually get up. My brain is still dreaming though I’ve managed to make coffee and breakfast and feed the dogs. Unfortunately, my favorite part of sleep is the hour or so before I get up and that would be going on right now. But I like this time of day.
I was thinking about routine. I like routine and so do the dogs. If anything, they are more tied to doing this thing at this time than I am. For me it’s a scaffolding on which I can hang adventure, and today I’m going to Taos with a friend. It’s a 1 1/2 hour drive from here. My friend is an artist — usually she works with fiber and makes “wearable art” — and has work hanging in two galleries. For the last month she’s had a large wall show hanging in one of the galleries and we’re going to take it down.
I never imagined I’d live where I do. In my memory/imagination Taos and Santa Fe were exotic locales one went to for special reasons or because one was very lucky. Even when I was looking at Monte Vista on the map before moving here, I never put it into the bigger picture, looking beyond the boundaries of Colorado.
Taos has been a magnet for artists for a century or longer. I imagine everyone connects it with Georgia O’Keefe. It’s strange to think of D. H. Lawrence having lived there, but he did. What a jaunt from the coal mines of Yorkshire, England to the high desert of northern New Mexico.
The photo above is wild mint growing beside the ditch next to the Monte Vista golf course. When I crushed a leaf, the fragrance was very mild but definitely spearmintlike, the leaves are a little bristly and the flowers are a magnet for the bees.
I retired. I moved into a small town where I didn’t know anyone. There was — and still is — so much I didn’t/don’t know. For example, I bought a small economy car that gets good gas mileage, but I hardly ever drive. I was still living in the life of 100+ miles per week and $4/gallon. I could have bought a truck, but I didn’t know… The house I really wanted? I could have offered half what they were asking and gotten it. I didn’t know. I was used to the extremely competitive seller’s market I’d moved away from. I didn’t know that within two years I’d be walking two miles and more at a good clip or that the stairs in the house I really wanted wouldn’t be such a big deal. I didn’t know that I would frequently have company and need the numerous bedrooms and two baths in the house I really wanted that this house doesn’t have.
I also thought I knew myself, but I didn’t. I’ve made a lot of discoveries since I started this life of retirement and solitude. I thought I knew where I was, I mean geographically, on the map, but I didn’t. I didn’t realize until recently that I moved to the part of the map where I had, long ago, dreamed of living. My whole focus when I found my town was north, east and west. I hadn’t thought “south.” But I am very close to the border of New Mexico, very close to Taos and Santa Fe and the high road that connects them. I live here, at the north end of the land of the Conquistadores, New Spain.
Sometimes I can’t believe my internal compass brought me here.
Again, I thought I knew those places — irrespective of the changes that are inevitably wrought by time, but I didn’t know those places, not really. I still don’t. Among the discoveries has been the Rio Grande Gorge, a little Grand Canyon, a place I had heard of from one of the men I have been in love with during my life as a great place to raft.
Now I’ve seen it and it’s one more amazing thing in this strange new life. I’d say that pretty much every single day I discover something new about where I live and I’ve come to understand that this transitional moment (which has been longer than I expected it would be) is more about learning who I am and where I am than anything else. I thought of how long it took me to actually LIVE in San Diego. It was a five year process, bridging the distance of self and place. I think this discovery process will take at least that long.
P.S. I didn’t take the photos… I wish I had. They had to have been taken from a helicopter. 🙂
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