Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Autumn arrived in northern New Mexico at the weekend. We were heading up the road to Taos – the smaller and more hippy-influenced version of Santa Fe (Albuquerquans make fun of us for being too out there; we make fun of the Taosenos).
Taking the High Road up towards Chimayo we passed a lone pilgrim, walking on an empty but beautiful stretch of road carrying a bottle of water with an Our Lady of Guadalupe on the back of his jacket .
Pilgrims from all over New Mexico walk to the church at Chimayo (especially at Easter time), and arriving at the small chapel, there were crosses made of twigs woven into the chain-link fence by the arriving walkers.
The shaded chapel is small and very peaceful, with a little stream running past in front. Maybe we’ll do the pilgrim’s walk one year – at least from Espanola (only a dozen or so miles down the road).
Continuing on through handsome high country – complete with real grass (great for an expat Englishman to see), we eventually meandered our way into Taos and stayed at the Taos Inn – centre of literary and musical life in the town for around a century. Even D H Lawrence used to hang out there while he was living up the road being grumpy.
On Saturday evening it started to rain hard, and everyone started smiling – now the monsoons have passed, any rain is welcome round here. And it stayed rainy and overcast until Monday afternoon.
Then the sun reappeared, but there’s been a snap to the temperatures, and we’ve closed the windows at night for the first time since we’ve been back.
Stepping out the door this morning – a customarily bright and sunny one – I neary gasped as the cold hit me. Apparently this is how autumn is the whole time – like those classic Dublin days where the sky is blue and clear, but the cold makes you wrap up warm. Lovely.
(During our Taos visit we went up to Taos Pueblo – the 1000-year old town that’s still lived in by the descendants of the original Indian builders – more on that later.)