Wednesday, February 13, 2013


We were in Arizona for two weeks—got back just before the last storm hit. As usual, we had a soothing, uplifting (I literally feel lighter on my feet as if gravity was reduced) experience in our favorite places among juniper, cactus, mesquite and red rocks.  Taos is home but not so sweet right now. There is an unapproachable sternness rising out of our native soil and the mountain is magnificent even breathtaking in its winter togs but not inviting. Every night I go to bed and when the light goes out the demons of doubt go to work. Somehow, I can beat them down in daylight. 
Taos Mountain Sunday

This time we went to Arizona to reunite with an old friend. Mali is an author that I met in Taos 19 years ago. She was one of the first people I met in Taos and she became the older sister I never had. She helped me maintain my convictions and visions through the inevitable Taos initiation rites. She now lives in New York City and Galway Ireland. We also enjoyed meeting her son who lives in Phoenix. After years of hearing about each other through Mali, he and we finally met in Cottonwood Arizona. 

Back in Taos, we are running low on cash but I just can’t imagine looking for a job around here.  I’m flowing over the brim tired of selling Indian jewelry and art, or selling anything for that matter. After years of waiting in anticipation for quitting time for a little time to paint, pour water on my flowers, or write in my journal within that short space between work and sundown, I can’t seem to flog myself into that old survival mentality any more. Moreover, I used to go out several times a week in the old days. Whatever happened to my social spirit? The Taos Inn twice a week for my three-dollar glass of wine (the price of wine has gone up considerably but not wages in Taos) and the coffee shop in the morning on days off.  Now and then, we still go to the Taos Inn for nachos and wine but only see an occasional person we know. We do better next door at Doc Martin’s for breakfast. In reality, we have become breakfast out people (OK, it’s usually lunch time before we get out of the house, but our chosen hang-outs serve late breakfast). This may be old age setting in but it feels more like nerve numbing boredom.
Favorite Trail - Courthouse Bute

I joined SOMOS, our local writing group about a year ago but haven’t been to any of the meetings yet. I’m either out of town, have another obligation, or more recently just can’t get the gumption to go. Why? I never asked that question until this week, and then recognized that if there is serious resistance, there may be a reason. The reality is, I don’t want to make any serious commitments here. Could it be that I’m ready to leave my beloved Taos, the place I’ve always regarded as the home of my soul?

This morning an answer came at around the same time that I found my long lost birth certificate and passport. About three years ago, I deliberately put these documents in an obvious easy to find place.  After that, they disappeared without a trace. I used to lie in bed at night trying to remember where any safe obvious place might be that hadn’t already been combed through at least twice. Right after coffee this morning, I decided to file the remains of last year’s papers still lying on my desk and it occurred to me to feel the space beneath the dividers at the bottom of the file holder.  Sure enough, I felt an envelope and it was indeed those elusive documents.

This doesn’t make logical sense but Taos wants us to be in Arizona right now. I remember what PQ’s father Joe J. had to say about Sedona. He regarded it as a place of medicine now drained and exploited for high-end real estate and New Age fads. It is a point of power in a sacred network but people have taken energy without giving back. Perhaps earth energy grids fluctuate, rise and retreat like invisible volcanoes. Modern humans have difficulty not exploiting everything we discover like bears in a beehive. Taos is quite different from Sedona. It doesn’t allow much exploitation.  Living in Taos is a bit like riding a half-wild horse. You have to be on your guard or it will throw you off. Despite its awesome looks, Sedona at least superficially tolerates fools, or perhaps it’s just aloof with them. We feel best in nearby Cottonwood; it’s close to Sedona but calmer.  It is like a pool at the edge of the rapids and it is easier to stay right side up. 

The craving to keep the energy streaming between these two places is very strong. We humans spend so much time in self-created environments that the powers of earth are a mystery. It isn’t something explainable but it’s medicine. By being in both places, it is easier to have perspective on each and stay in balance. Of course, there is as well the reality that PQ breathes easier in a lower altitude.
Rocks like Standing Figures Approaching Gallup

In the meantime, Vladimir, owner/chef of Quince a fabulous Taos style restaurant in Jerome Arizona invited PQ to do an art show in May. Now we can look forward to heading west on I-40 again before much time passes. Vladimir is a native Taoseno. If you don’t already know, Jerome is an old copper mining town hanging precariously on the side of the mountain above Cottonwood and Clarkdale. In fact, a local told us that the little house we used to rent in Cottonwood came down the mountain from Jerome some years ago.  The ties between the Taos and Arizona associations are becoming as intricately woven as macramé.