Taos Mountain Welcome

….. I left you with our weary bones soaking in the magical hot springs of Ojo Caliente….  But it was time to move on.  We were due in Taos!  While visiting Taos and getting to know the many and varied people who call it their home, I heard the expression “Taos Mountain has welcomed you” a number of times.  It is almost as if, had we not had the right attitude, or approach of spirit, we would miss out on the experiences to be had there.  Those who approach Taos Mountain thinking they are in control, or who have an agenda or some rigid idea of how things are to go are simply bound to be “spit out” by the Mountain Itself and the spirits who abide therein.  We were lucky.

The drive from Ojo to Taos is not a long one but it is desolate.  Three sets of directions put us onto some roads we weren’t sure of which led us down into the Rio Grande Gorge, across a small bridge and back up again into Taos Valley.   There are other ways to get to Taos that are a little longer, and a little less scary, but looking back this trek seemed appropriate.  We felt like we were entering another world.

(note the white knuckles…. there were no guardrails, no asphalt)

But of course we made it.  And I walked Julie up the hill from our little b&b for the evening to Mabel’s, where we would be moving to the following day and where we would stay for the duration of the workshop.  It was crazy cold that evening.  And windy.  But the sun has a way of hitting the Mabel Dodge Luhan House that makes everything beautiful.  Julie’s response upon first site of this magical place was, ‘I’m all in’.

The wind was indeed wild that first night in Taos.  I had the sense that we had been carried there on some Mary Poppins-esque magical breeze into this lovely world of sunlight and synchronicity.  Such is the spell that Taos can cast.  We awoke Saturday morning to meet up with Kate Cartwright, a local artist I have become friends with, at the Farmers Market.

This is a fabulous market! There are the usual items like early greens and sprouts, woolens and plants along with lots of other cool things from interesting sales folks.  This woman sold heirloom seeds.  And turkey wings and feathers with which to ‘smudge’ sage in a space:

Kate showed us around the market then took us to a place called El Gamal, a middle eastern restaurant and coffee house where I had the best macchiato EVER.  Seriously!  Later in the week we would eat the food there and it is equally as tasty.   After coffee we visited Kate’s tiny house and studio.  Her place is small but organized like a sailboat with everything in it’s proper place and space for everything.  Kate works in collage and assembles work that speaks to the spirit.  Below I am sizing up her little altars, deciding which one to take home with me.

Like many in Taos, Kate has blue doors for protection and beauty…

We couldn’t linger too very long in her tiny house and wee walled garden.  Back in town, at the local library, there was a lecture to attend.  Lenny Foster is a Taos based photographer and he just happened to be giving a talk and presenting a slide show that day.  Now let me remind you, Julie and I had not been in Taos for 24 hours yet by this point.  And here we were, soaking up everything the town had to offer like a couple of locals.  This is what people speak of when they say that Taos Mountain has welcomed us….

Lenny’s talk was inspiring.  The journey from his old life back east to his artful life now in Taos is a fascinating one which is captured by the depth of his photography.  As he talked, it was amazing to me that much of what he hit on, such as the need to nurture and not question our creativity, were themes that Julie, Kate and I had been discussing all morning.  Themes for our week.  It was magic!

After Lenny’s lecture, it was time to bid Kate adieu for the day and move on up to Mabel’s.  A quick look into the classroom at Mabel’s Juniper House took my breath away.  THIS was our WORK space!!!!!  How inspiring!! (We would make it even more lovely and elegant…)

Julie and I spent our first night at Mabel’s in the 3rd floor solarium which has 360 degree views of pueblo lands and mountains.

This is our view from the loo:

As the sun set that evening we attempted to capture what the light in the sky was up to.  Always a futile activity but it feeds the soul anyway.

I now know what ‘purple mountain majesty’ really means.

And now I have come to the end of the account of my first full day in Taos.  Hopefully you can see why each day needs it’s own post.  The days in Taos seemed to last forever.  D.H. Lawrence said “time is different there”, and he is right.  Without really trying, we packed more into each day than seemed humanly possible.  It’s as if time slowed to accommodate our wishes while there.

I am trying to figure out how to put a bit of this time-bending quality into my ordinary day to day now that I am back here at home.  So much of it is the simple approach to things that involve time, but let’s face it, the modern world requires us to show up on time.  Then again, perhaps by building more art time into our lives, more long walks with the dogs, or time paddling on the rivers, less time trying to watch the clock and simply ‘keep-up’ – maybe we can bend time just enough to slow down and live a little.

‘Til next time…



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