Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Mexico sunshine

We're based in Santa Fe for a week of exploration and a weekend with our 11-year-old grandson Alex. It's a home exchange we're doing - with a couple visiting their grandchildren in Seattle. They're staying in our house, driving our car, enjoying time with their family. It's a practical way to travel.

Yesterday we visited Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument, both about 45 minutes from the house. The Bradley Museum in Los Alamos does a colorful, informative, earnest job of explaining what the Los Alamos lab is currently up to. One of their responsibilities is to make sure our aging nuclear weapons are maintained and usable, now that we're not making any new ones. Lots of money going into that, which disturbs the progressive pacifist in me.

Bandelier is the site of numerous archeological sites and petroglyphs of the Ancient People who lived in the valley and in caves carved into volcanic stone on the valley walls.

The one-mile walk includes a series of stairs and walkways and ladders that take you right up into a few of the caves.

A deer walked across the path in front of us. The wind was soft and sighing. It wasn't crowded. The temperature was in the upper 60s. I could have stayed there a bunch longer. I'm glad we closed our day at this peaceful place.





Today we took the "High Road to Taos", stopping first at the Santuario de Chemayo. This area had long been known to the native people as a site for healing. Two hundred years ago a cross miraculously appeared to a villager, who built the Santuario. It's now the destination for thousands of pilgrims who come each year seeking miracles and healing.


Art and I arrived midway through the mass. The priest was low key and sincere. Parts of the service were in the original Greek, part was in English, and the final prayer was in Spanish. It was a lovely service even to me, a lapsed Catholic. I recalled the last time I was in a Catholic church was last November at St. Peter's in Rome. I liked this one better. It seemed much more in the spirit of simplicity and service, like St. Francis of Assisi, whom the brothers in this area follow.

We drove on to Taos and visited the Taos Pueblo, a national historic site. This pueblo has been inhabited for the last thousand years. The people I talked to, in their little shops situated in the old buildings, seemed reluctant to respond to my questions - except for the last woman, an artist, with whom I had an animated and candid conversation about Native American history and politics these days. We agreed there is power and greed at work everywhere.


12 comments:

Linda said...

This sounds like it's going to be a wonderful trip. Think of me when you see the sun.

#1Nana said...

Lucky you...and this trip you don't have to swing a hammer!

marciamayo said...

Linda, how do you set up your exchanges? When you have time, would you email me at marciamayo@yahoo.com. Thanks.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a neat trip. I am so glad you found a willing shop owner to talk to. I would have tried also.
Know how you feel about the nuclear weapons. Arkansas just recently dismantled their stockpile of chemical weapons. Phew.

June said...

I'm glad other people travel, and write so well about it. I don't like to travel but I like to be there in my mind.

DJan said...

I am so glad to be home after my recent travels, but it sure is nice to read about others who are out and about. I am looking forward to a massage today after my workout. And I am also looking forward to meeting you one of these days soon.

I was recently inside a Catholic church and felt completely at home, although it had been decades. Funny how that works. Thanks for the great post.

Out on the prairie said...

A very interesting area, it all sounds wonderful.I was trying to think of whose book I read about starting the first missions in the area.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Linda, I'm so happy to hear you're in NM. It sounds like you're finding fun things to do. Tsankawi, which is down the road, but a part of Bandelier is a very interesting walk, with a habitation site on top and caves on the sunny side as you make the circle.

Enjoy that blue sky!

Linda Reeder said...

I'm taking notes. I really hope to get to New Mexico in the fall. Keep these reports coming!

Retired English Teacher said...

You are in one of my very favorite parts of the United States. If you get a chance you should drive up the Red River Valley from Taos. Of course, there is so much beautiful country to see and such interesting sites to visit. Also, I hope you eat some of the great food.

Enjoy!

Sightings said...

sounds like nice trip ... i wish i got around half as much as you!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Linda your pictures are amazing! What an interesting place. i wonder if we'll go through Taos on our drive out to Phoenix this summer. We're big believers in the road trip and how much you can learn about the country simply traveling its roads and discovering stuff like this. I think I'll try to convince Matt that we should take a jaunt through this area regardless if we were planning to or not. It sounds and looks magical. Enjoy your journey in the southwest!