While these landscapes are not the ones I prefer in the south west, I understand the people who have come to live in Taos. Here there are huge resource inequalities, a diversity of people who have mixed despite the massacres, but they all share a strong attachment to the place where they have chosen to live and a feeling of belonging in this landscape. It is a little like Pierrefeu.
The tribal signs you spoke to me about, Jacqueline, it is going to be something else. Yesterday, Michael told me that if I wanted to photograph Taos Pueblo, I should tell him because he has some friends there, some Pueblo Indians are part of the board of the Foundation.
Taos Pueblo is Indian Territory, the land around belongs to them and is sacred, therefore closed to us. This is what happened yesterday at the end of Las Cruces Road (though it starts near the plaza, the historic center of Taos) when I found myself facing a no trespassing sign, complete with the usual barbed wire.
During the 1950s the Indians were part of the village. They do not come much any more. They tend to pass by. On the other hand, the outskirts where I have driven on certain late afternoons, is where they live. Stark beauty. Houses scattered on the ground. One might say temporary or waiting for something more permanent. Limited means, sometimes horses in huge fields, some cows, wood piles, and at the same time from their windows the most beautiful views, stretching to infinity. Far in the distance, pure lines of the mountains under an immense sky.
When I leave the car to just look or take a photograph, as the night falls, a blue haze of smoke, that almost erases scrap iron and other recycled material and the carcasses of the cars flattened in the snow, gives off a familiar smell of pine, juniper or cedar. Yes, it reminds me of all the pine and oak smoke of our childhood fires.
This afternoon I go with Carolyn towards the gorges of the Rio Grande that we cross over on that very high bridge that shakes when a truck passes.
On the map I had seen a road across the river, quite straight at first with no view over the river, only a dark line along the mesa flat surface revealing the sides of a deep gorge.
Suddenly the road descends steeply, asphalt becomes dirt. After a few curves, we find ourselves near the river.
From below we are surprised, it is not as narrow as perceived from above. We continue on a fair distance, the sun level with the high cliffs, we stop near a bridge, I walk a little, we take the car again, we explore the surroundings, this is the beginning of my scouting out locations for my “Rivieres” project, finally. It is splendid and tranquil, many birds.
The sun has disappeared, we return by the main road which joins Taos from the south.
Pass with care.