From Taos with Love

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The sun is hot, it is good.  It warms the chill from my bones.  The ice from winter melting into something resembling relaxation.  Awe.  Inspiration.

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Yesterday we stopped  in Taos on our way to Espanola.  There were a few sites we wanted to see that we missed on prior trips to New Mexico.  I am standing in front of the (adorably small…I would have been a giant in the 1700’s!) doors of La Hacienda de los Martinez.  A beautiful home built hundreds of years ago with two large courtyards and astoundingly simple beauty.  The kitchen was my favorite with its kiva in the corner, coals taken from it and placed under pots of food to cook, the heat rising to warm the bed above.  The root cellar was a room with a small window the same level as the rest of the house.  No fireplace, no door originally there, just a nice cool adobe room.  This is a picture of the grain room.  Large bins held barley, corn, and wheat.

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I am interested in how people lived a hundred, two hundred years ago.  I want to know how they preserved food and avoided the grocery store, how they made yarn, fabric, clothing, rugs.  How did they build their homes to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter?  What a great time to live that we can avoid the harshness of the new frontier, its diseases and horror, but live as simply as our predecessors and employ some of the same techniques to care for our own families.

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The art in New Mexico, the landscape, the colors, the history, the culture (something we don’t have too much of back home), the food, the spiritual vibe inspires me.  We had to stop and purchase a small notebook for me to write all of the paintings I want to create and the ideas I have.

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Welcome to St. Francis de Asis, our most recent spiritual adventure.  The church itself is breathtaking, as are all the churches there.  Many of my paintings are of these lovely, handcrafted churches.  But this church holds its own gift.  A painting.  Painted 117 years ago, it has baffled scientists and sceptics alike.  There is absolutely no reason why it appears the way it does.  In the light, it looks like a rustic, old painting of Jesus.  The canvas is coming off a little on the bottom, the paint slightly cracked from years of standing solemnly in places all over the world.  When the docent turned the lights out,  it started to take shape.  The background glows, the sea moves, the figure of Jesus is a dark, billowing shadow, in three-dimensional awe.  A large cross is behind him.  Not in the original painting!  We can see the whole painting.  There are no tricks of the eye.  No glow in the dark paint.  No scientific explanation.  And Doug and I stand directly in front of it feeling like we are standing in the room with another figure.  In absolute awe.  Uncomfortable in our inability to process it.  The painting moves the very soul.

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Today Pat and Rodney, and their son Mark, who are in Santa Fe for vacation will meet us at Las Golondrinas for a private tour.  More miracle churches, shopping, and delicious fare.  May your day be filled with inspiration!

SAM_0315 (View from our hotel balcony at dawn.)

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