On the radio, I listened to a serie of programs about the Sundance Festival. This year they presented documentaries. According to Redford it is important to promote them (long interview with him) so that they can reach the general public. Their guest was the director of Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a film about the importance of lobbies in American politics. They talked again about the law that grants corporations the legal status of private persons permitting them to openly donate as much money as they wish to influence politicians and interfere with laws.
This morning I go to the Land Management Office to buy topographic maps. They are amazed that I was thinking of going hiking in the snow.
I tell them my intention is rather to go and take photographs of the Rio Grande and Red River. Great relief, they will not have to call the police to find an old lost French woman. Admittedly, Taos is quite wild amid the high mountains. There is a ski resort nearby.
The rivers? Exactly, there are several places where it is very walkable without being a really strong hiker, young and energetic, with roads that take you not too far from interesting places.
In addition, as the girl behind the counter told me:
– “Oh you will see, there are some marvelous hikes.”
I ask if one can hike and take photographs on the reserves.
– “The specialist is Eduardo” she says ans she calls him. He arrives very calmly. Looking at the map he begins explaining to me where I can go.
– “And there, around the Taos pueblo?”
– “No, not in this large red part, it’s the Indian territory where it’s forbidden to do any photographing.”
I press him a little. He answers that on the other side of the village, it’s allowed to take photos, but, as he had just told me, here, no, it’s impossible! They have struggled hard to maintain some space around their village and they absolutely do not want strangers to their community to come and take photographs. It is their home and we should leave them in peace.
I asked him if he is Navajo. I sensed a slight withdrawal.
– “No, Pueblo, Navajos are newcomers in our territories, like the Europeans” he adds.
– “That I knew.” He smiles and waits for me to go.
I drive towards the south and then the west. The roads become increasingly narrow, a little rutted, very few cars. Suburbs, fields, farms, metal caravans, and mountains on the horizon. I photograph, continue to drive, as the day comes to a close and because a snow storm is predicted for this evening or tomorrow, I find a place to turn back. Approaching the side of the road, I can see down below the dark ribbon of a river, a wooden bridge, the snow not yet melted and tall trees.
There is the very chic Taos: the old adobe village, art galleries, trendy cafes, museums, us, the plaza, the historic houses, and the other one on the southern boundary (the only outskirt I know at the moment) modest, even poor, near Wal-Mart, the supermarket for cheap prices and dubious practices. Still part of the town, almost invisible, hidden behind the large stores which open onto the main road of Taos.
“At home” I unfold the maps. So, the predicted storm will become a moment of happiness with all the lines and colours figuring unknown rivers and paths. Spread out on the floor they will warm the white world of tomorrow.
Cars pass by and the wind blows.