We are approaching that time of year when life goes underground and deep inside. Pba-Quen-nee-e’s (PQ’s) Tiwa people soon begin their annual Quiet Time to honor Mother Earth’s need to rest and renew. While our Mother Earth is pregnant with a new life cycle, the modern techno money world is spinning too fast to touch down on solid ground.
Here in Taos, the great rush of tourists in October suddenly waned in November and all has returned to basic Taos. The smell of burning cedar and pinon is everywhere. But, this small town is still a unique mixture of times and cultures. Anyone with a pickup truck can get in the wood hauling business if they know where to find good wood and it is still vital to our Taos autumn and winter. We recently saw a truckload parked kitty corner from our organic grocery store advertising organic firewood. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
For now, our life is also quiet. The shopping mania in the rest of the country doesn’t affect Taos. This was a surprise when I first moved here. Everything in Town goes quiet. The shops, even though decorated with evergreen branches, red ribbons and farolitas (traditional paper bag lanterns) are peaceful. Many of our restaurants close the entire month of November and even first week of December to make repairs and give employees time off. The ski slopes are waiting for more snow. Waiting is the main game in town. The exception is Walmart, our improbable town center. It serves the function once occupied by the old plaza. The marriage of Taos and Walmart makes for an odd couple although they’ve each made adjustments, and while it’s a relationship of more than twenty years, there are dissonances that will never become harmonic.
We watch a lot of TV since we quit going out as much at night, it is our primary contact to an external world gone crazy with sale! Sale! Sale! Ninety percent of my emails are also sale! Sale! Sale! Black Friday now threatens to last until 2013. It seems irrelevant. I do not find myself wanting anything, nor do I want to give stuff to anyone during this natural quiet time. I find myself wanting to avoid loud colors, fast words and frantic motion. Opening the Pueblo house for Christmas is enough.
This week PQ occupied himself with readying the Pueblo house for Christmas. He had to hire some guys from the Pueblo to help him lay a cement walk in the porch, repair mom’s horno (adobe oven) and make other minor repairs. It bothers him that his lungs no longer allow him to do much physical work. He loves handiwork and is proud that he knows how to do many things, but on the positive side, it gave him a chance to be with tribal members again and share what only they have in common. Today we begin cleaning six years of dust from floor and kitchen, he did some repairs on the fireplace and I cleaned. There is something significantly symbolic about opening the Pueblo house again to family and friends. We are bringing back the life that veered far away from the Pueblo when Joe J. and Frances passed.
The current shopping frenzy in the big world outside doesn’t change the fact that there is a lack of authentic feeling behind it. The financial people are pleased, but economic health is about more than producing and buying more stuff. Without an organic connection to earth rules, there is just addiction, a substitute for something important that is missing.
According to the Mayan calendar, the return to zero point in galactic time occurs on December 21, 2012, the winter solstice. A culture once conquered and suppressed is now the source of a collective fear that our familiar world is doomed. It seems fitting. Many once conquered cultures now have more power than ever from the closet of our guilty fears. It’s a fitting vengeance. We relegated the Mayan world to the shadowy distant past of our cultural memory. Though once regarded as inferior, possibly demonic, it now reemerges with super human force. Yes, the Mayan astronomers are now mysteriously responsible for our apprehension of possible big changes looming up ahead. Our collective instincts tell us that we can’t consume our way to infinity. Contemporary humans resemble a swarm of locusts, and every bite of candy-coated poison is a temporary feel good. Unfortunately, it is human nature to hope that a bigger dose of bad medicine will make the resulting symptoms go away.
There isn’t much we can do to prepare against a future we aren't privy to, although some folks believe they know just what to anticipate. I believe that we really need to tune into Mother Earth’s moves, and do our best to respect and get to know her as the one that holds us up beneath the disorienting mist of our contrived world. We must learn how to be organic but intuition only works when not powered by heavy emotions such as fear. After all, we don’t actually fear the unknown, but what we believe we know about the unknown.
For now, it seems like a good idea to back away from the coastlines and quit building two story houses and manufactured homes in tornado alley. Mother Earth has had enough and common sense says it would be best not to heedlessly ignore the warnings of her impatience. Respect! Yes, that almost forgotten concept just may be the most powerful medicine of all.