34- Gloomy weather, Exoticism, Mirroring the World

It snowed all night. Cancel the ride with Patrick to Coyote Creek, on the other side of the mountain. Hole up inside to read and sort through photographs. The snow is thick, the weather, bad. It snows again.

I read through some very old notes. Ah! The exoticism, a concept that refuses all notion of attachment, because as soon as it is familiar, it has lost its exoticism. Free is the path of one who cherishes the exotic.

What about the words describing the flavor of the world, the exaltations, words that express love, promises?

It would be good to recapture the quiescent times of adolescence when one had the time, the painful time to regain the color and the grief that arise to disturb the moments of love and beauty. One reflects the world anew. It should not be forgotten that one magnifies that which one loves.

Gray outside. Warm inside. I begin to connect bits of text with the photographs, those that can be better understood through writing. At work.

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33- Cold wind, Soft pink towards the South.

Sunday.  The sky is blue. The sun slowly disappears.

 

 

 

A thick fog arrives pushed by a cold wind. Violent wind. I hear it rise up and then diminish. The fog continues to advance.

Subsides.

In the openings, the sun softens, while over there towards the south, it turns the ridgeline pink. No more than a minute it lasts.

 

 

Pink even softer, at ground level, so white the snow, so black the bushes. Sublime time of contemplative solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While returning I think to myself that this evening I would like to stay quietly at homerather than dining with neighbors. But, I had not warned them. It is 6 oclock and I had promised rice with sauted vegetables. So I arrived at 6:30 with the casserole. In the end, I had a good time and a delicious dinner.

Staying in my mind, the spun pink of the morada.

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32- Aztec dances, Maze, Sighing on the Grasslands

Quick meal and I’ll take a walk around the plaza.

Some Aztec dancers have finished dancing. The drums fall silent. They chat with the audience while packing up their instruments. A little boy is making big balls with silver paper which he brings to his parents, who are having a picnic nearby.

I take the Morada Lane to go and “do” the Labyrinth. Apparently, if one follows in silence the spiraling road towards the center, one reaches a state similar to meditation: shifting continuously from the right brain to the left brain while approaching and then turning and moving away from the center. No meditation for me, too busy looking around probably. On the rock at the center I see a necklace, some coins, tickets, and papers bearing messages of peace, of love or poems, stuck under carefully chosen rocks it seems, often folded into 4 to protect them from the snow.

While passing beside Mabel Luhan Lodge I realize that one can probably reach Indian lands that continue on for a long way.

I go. Traverse a ditch.

Yes, in the distance I see the cross painted by Georgia 0’Keefe.

The wind rises, covering the blue sky with white clouds that thicken, growing more and more distant.
I feel a storm coming. The mountains appear and disappear. A strange sighing swells over the land.

I look all around, convinced that animals are spinning in front of me. Nothing. Sudddenly the wind drops, the storm has passed, now far from here.
I return to the town in peace.
Two little girls run along past the
façade of the church. Time to get out my camera.

 

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31- Carolyn Gage, James Thomas Stevens

So today, I wake up late and continued the blog. It drives me crazy. As usual when I want to finish something quickly and the program doesn’t work well, it takes 3 times longer.

7 :00, evening readings, while waiting we talk. Robbie Steinbach, photographer came: she prepares an exhibition which begins on 13 March. She asks Carolyn, Pamela and me to go next Wednesday to Abiquiu, where she had lived for 5 years unless there’s deep snow! Also there tonight are Rena Rosequist, Bill and Teresa Ebie, the singer / painter Patty Sheehan…
These lectures are always organized by SOMOS – Society Of the Muse Of the Southwest – I repeat the name as I adore its exuberance.
Taos News did an article to introduce the evening, which takes place in the former home of Mabel Dodge Luhan.

I came here full of optimism because tonight they had invited :
James Thomas Stevens begins, a Mohawk poet to read his poems and
Carolyn to play a part from one of her plays.

As soon as James Thomas Stevens begins, it is astonishing. Among others, a set of poems written in Mohawk language which he reads tonight in three versions, Mohawk, English, and his own personal translation which unfolds with each telling and is never quite the same.
His readings are superb and his use of the third version reminds us of his people’s dynamic oral tradition, as the stories, poems, myths evolved as people passed them on.

Jacqueline, this is my first entry into “Indian territory”.
He lived in Canada and elsewhere and for a year near Santa Fe. His mother is Mohawk (he keeps the well known name “Mohawk” despite the fact that it was given by their enemies and is translated as “cannibal”. But he told us that they call themselves “the people who knew flint”).
His Welsh father likes to say that it’s from him and the people of Wales that he gets his gift! His decision to become a poet was certain on the day a teacher said in class: “Poetry is the orchestration of silence”. When his father came home in the evening after work and his many children asked him questions, he would answer: “I have no more words.”

– “For Indians”, he added, “silence is an integral part of the story as it is told. In poetry also, because it speaks in many fewer words than novels. That works for me.”
As in the jazz of Miles Davis?

 

 

 

 

 

 
It is Carolyn’s turn and it is lively, fast-paced. Everyone laughs and yet throughout we feel the pain of the two nineteenth century women “Fly Rod” Crosby and her Annie Oakley, both rejected, unloved, different.
Pamela, Carolyn and I go to dinner at Doc Martins. Lively discussion among us America / Canada / France, married women / lesbians / single women, theater / painting / photography, etc …
And we return, in beauty. The labyrinth made of stones on the ground, right there in the car’s headlights. Do we “walk” it tomorrow?.

 

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30- Kit Carson Forest, Dorothy Brett, Bobo, Ken Russell, Pascale Ferran

After lunch I go to get Carolyn who first reads me the beginning of her play about Dorothy Brett, another of those incredible women who came to settle in Taos.

We leave for Kit Carson Forest, we walk on the paths which are still a little muddy sometimes snowy, but the sun shines bright, we take off our jackets and sweaters. The view of Taos and, as usual, of the mountains around, is a great pleasure.
Coming back, in front of a church, we meet a boy, Bobo, who asks me my name. Once I had told him, he was willing to pose for a picture in his wonderful black and white tee shirt, adorned with a large image of the Virgin Mary.

Later in the evening, I watch Women in Love, a film by Ken Russell, adapted from DH Lawrence’s book, which I like less than my memory of it.
ferran
I prefer amongst the various movies inspired by Lawrence’s novels, Pascale Ferran’s low budget film adapted from Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It is more successful in making us appreciate our dear Lawrence, whom I’m interested in at the moment because he lived here and I am at last reading more of his work. To return to the movie, I very much liked that it takes its time to tell the story, which is completely in the spirit of Lawrence. As a critic for Le Monde wrote: “… the glorious rawness of the flesh which emerges from the images is quite splendid…”

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29- Navajo Trader, Shopping, Blur

Reading an odd book “Navajo Trader” which chronicles the life of trading posts in Indian territory and where we see that finally between individuals, things can go well and friendships can be built. Gladwell Richardson (1903-1980) wrote lots of novels published under different names John R. Winslowe, Calico Jones, Cary James, Frank Warner, Don Teton, Buck Coleman, Grant Maxwell, Charles Mc Adam etc … and also short stories which appeared in newspapers. His books were mostly published in England and translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Swedish …
He supplemented his income as a merchant in the Navajo territory with his writings, nearly 300 novels.

Driving to Albertsons with Liz and Carolyn. Shopping time.

Short walk at dusk in the streets of Taos.

I had harbored great hopes with this photo of a richly decorated interior which I pass quite often when I return home at night, at this hour “entre chien et loup” that I particularly like because of its light, often surreal. Yes the red and white object on the right is a superb Indian headdress, floating off the table, one can spot a bouquet of flowers and deep in the shadows, almost invisible, a painting. Finally quite a successful blur as all is left to your imagination.

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28- Taos Morada, Georgia O’Keefe, Parchemene Belle

Long conversation with Jean-Pierre about the work on our house in Pierrefeu which has finally started. Obviously we cannot do everything at once, so we must decide what to do later. And then, a discussion with Kristof, to hear his opinions and this is an opportunity for us to talk.
After a quick lunch, I print the photo of the strange footprints to show Michael. He has the same interpretation I had: a hare standing on its hind legs admiring the scenery or a little human lost in the cold. In Helen Wurlitzer’s garden I fill a bottle with the delicious spring water from the well.

Clouds in the sky, but the light is promising.
I leave on foot towards the Las Cruces Road where the cemetery is and then decide to continue along Penitentes Road up to a small church la Morada de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.

 

 

 

 

“Moradas are the sacred chapter houses of Los Hermanos Penitentes, a lay Catholic brotherhood that emerged in New Mexico at the end of the Colonial era. The Morada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the largest and least altered of its kind in the state and is highly significant to our understanding of the Hermandad. Not only was Taos a major stronghold for the brotherhood throughout the tumultuous 19th‐century but it also is one of three likely locations where it originated, the other two being Abiquiú and Santa Cruz de la Cañada (Chavez 1954).

With the sun still hidden, I continue along a path through a sort of open moorland spread out all the way to the mountains.

Several trees, a hill, the sun, everything suddenly becomes splendid, theatrical.

 


When I return, much later, what is left of the light will be on the church wall. Golden solitude.

 

 

Is that black cross the one
Georgia O’Keeffe
painted in 1929 while she was here?

 

 

 

No one around, only smoke in the distance again tonight. And when I pass the houses, there is once more this woody smell I love.

I arrive at Kit Carson Rd just before nightfall.

There is a message from Carolyn asking me if I would like to help her find a fishing rod to use in her play. Ah yes, and she tells me that she has found a guide to take me fly-fishing. Now it’s up to me ! Yes, let’s go go fishing with THE fly.
ParmacheneBelle
That one which can catch fish in any river in America, which doesn’t imitate any real insect, an absolute human creation, La Parmachene Belle.
It is also the title of the play about Annie Oakley and Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby that Carolyn wrote and will perform on Friday night.

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27- Stiff Neck, Taos Hum, Sushi, Truffaut and our Favorite Movies

​It continues: laziness and my stiff neck is only slightly improved. So I decide to stay home. Besides, it isn’t very nice out, and now my neighbor stops by and suggests a sushi dinner with George at my house. My room is larger.

We are ready to go shopping, but as I still had a lot of things here, we decided to postpone it this evening and have a brownie dessert made by George instead. And so we spent the evening talking about crime fiction and cinema. George’s favorite film: Jules et Jim by Truffaut, Liz’s is Lawrence of Arabia. And me? I hesitated, Pierrot le Fou, Les 400 Coups, The Night of the Hunter are among those I have seen again and again. Monday blurs. ​
​Now, while little else is happening, I will tell you about a very faint sound, a continuous sound that many people hear in Taos – the Hum of Taos which Pamela had told me about.

Mysterious Hum: The Taos Hum in New Mexico (VIDEO)

She could hear it well at night, she told me.

 

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26- Artist Co-op, Valentine’s Day, Don Juan and Patty Sheehan

 

 

As on previous Sundays, curiously, as if it had become the rule, I hang around the house. I promise myself to go for a walk a little later because the weather is beautiful. But I have a very stiff neck and have wrapped scarves around my neck and I am reading.

At 10 past 4 George knocks. ” So Marie, are you ready? ” I totally forgot that I had promised to go to the Taos artist Co-op for a Valentine’s Day celebratation with love songs.

Give 10 dollars for UNICEF Haiti, and that makes me think of Martine in Ethiopia, and how she would have been very good in this musical afternoon.

 

There we enjoy yourselves.

Many singers came and nearly all sang well. Patty Sheehan, who has been painting for 40 years, decided to take up singing. She has been doing this for the last 2 years. She is currently finishing the recording of a second cd. Her first called Little Plastic Christmas Tree is there on the piano and she tells us :
“By the way, I almost never sell them, take one if you want, or even better, put money in the Unicef box.”

She sang us 4 great songs.
Little stories of nothing, but her presence, her voice although a little worn, and her humor, were superb. We all had one desire, that it continue.

 

Go back with George, we join the others for our Sunday dinner.

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