A Cow & Magpie Morning


Beautiful spring morning here in Talpa as I head in a northerly direction on the property to investigate the loud and mournful sound of cows. They’re obviously new to the neighborhood and are expressing their dismay for all to hear. I think it started around dusk yesterday and sadly continued through the night.

Along the way I connected with this charming magpie who let me get pretty close before flying off. I have an eye on a possible magpie nest with the theory that there will soon be some baby magpies joining the numerous birds who seem to make their home around my house.

Yes, I know those are llama, not cows, but if you look closely beyond the second fence you can see a couple of cows. They appear to be brown cows, for what that tells you. There are three llamas living here, next door, but they are quiet and content. They do seem to like to have me take photos of them, as I have several times in the past. So, the mystery of the crying cows is solved. Perhaps they’ll settle in to their new home and be good neighbors like the llamas?

Looking back to the south you can almost see my house, just to the left of the middle of the photo, the taller and smaller of the two structures. In the foreground, the alfalfa field, and to its left, one of the acequia ditches that crisscross the property. Those houses in the distance on the upper right would be part of Llano Quemado I believe. They have great views back toward the Sangre de Christo Mountains that frame Taos proper.

Speaking of acequia ditches, this one is pretty close to the main ditch. When open it sends water east along the back of the alfalfa field and feeds into the south ditch along the fence I showed before. This snapshot in time shows the mix of new grass and old you see everywhere now. I looked for buds on bushes and trees that I could photograph as signs of spring but so far not much to see in my neck of the woods.

Lots of trees in the orchard. This shot takes advantage of the strong shadows on this garage that’s facing the morning sun. I believe this is an apple tree. Just to the east of this tree is a clump of purple plum bushes that produced the most incredible fruit in my memory of last summer and fall eats from the orchard. It’s kind of a secret location and I’m grateful to the landlord for turning me on to it last fall when there were more plums than he could keep up with. Seems like a dream to me now.

Another magpie letting me get close enough for a recognizable photo. This is an old but strong pear tree that has been properly pruned somewhat recently. Just now as I’m typing at 11 AM the wind is starting to pick up and will likely blow the rest of the day, reaching speeds of 25 mph. That’s how it was yesterday and most days last week. Glad I got out this morning early. Guess I have the cows to thank for that?

Couldn’t resist sharing this macro shot with you. Wish I could give you the name of the plant. It’s something that came up among my flowers in the sunny, south-facing bed next to the house. I’ve just applied to get in to the SEED3 show next October here in Taos so I have seeds on my mind. This is the third year for this popular art and educational event and it will be difficult to get in. Speaking of “getting in,” I CAN report I’ll be one of the local craftspeople showing their work at the Taos Folk crafts show next holiday season. I consider that an honor as it was generally lauded for its high-quality and affordable crafts last year.

Chasing Spring in Taos

We drove over to the Ojo Hot Springs yesterday chasing a sunny, 70-degree day and were rewarded by the site of this hyacinth in shades of pale pink. You can see the effects of my improved camera equipment in this simple photo. Huge difference.

I can’t actually recommend everyone run over to the hot springs in this nice weather. It was crowded because this is the season of rolling spring breaks in schools throughout the region. There were lots of teacher types and then parents trying to sneak their kids into the adult-only pools, which I had never seen before.

This is the entrance to Ojo with the parking lot beyond. To the left is the hotel and the entrance just past the sign takes you to the restaurant and wine bar. Opposite (not shown) is the new building that you pass through for entry into the pools and spa. We had lunch in the restaurant before checking in, fish tacos and salad. The food is healthy, delicious and beautifully presented.

I spotted these daffodils in the bed along the side of the hotel you see above–warm, south-facing and protected. And, of course, all at a lower elevation than Taos.

Compared to winters of history apparently we here in Taos dodged a bullet this year. The down side is that there was also not much precipitation (snow in the mountains) and that’s where the waters of summer come from through those famous acequia ditches. So nothing to brag about in the larger picture…

I took a little loop of a walk around the property where I live and felt some hope seeing these young plants deciding it was time to make their move. Looks like they could use some rain though. Just checked the 10-day forecast and didn’t see much encouragement there, just more mild spring temps with afternoon winds and a low chance of rain.

On Sunday I will celebrate my one-year anniversary of the day I drove into Taos to begin my search for a house. I had timed it to coincide with the Spring Equinox, as it will this year. I’m planning to attend a Mayan Equinox ceremony here that day.

Again, thanks to the new camera, I was able to communicate the intricate beauty of this remnant of last year’s bounty in the orchard. Won’t be long before it’s replaced by buds producing their annual flowers and fruits. I love these Wabi-Sabi remnants reminding us that all phases of life have their beauty.

Let this photo be our honoring of all that life created in last year’s growing and fruiting, both in the plant world and in our personal lives. We have arrived now at our cyclical starting point, renewed and ready to begin in earnest again.

Tomorrow, this waxing moon in the photo, will be full, illuminating the orchard as it gets its signal from the cosmos that it is time to begin anew. May we all find the courage to honor our deepest truths and be the love we seek.

Hanuman Temple on Sunday

There must be folks who are always here at the Hanuman Temple on any given Sunday. I’m not one of those, but I do think about it, am attracted to the place and always am glad I went when I do go. Today I did a double dip and first attended the 5-Rhythms dancing at TaDa (1 1/2 hours of continuous dancing) and then went directly to the Temple.

Hanuman is a monkey god in the Hindu pantheon and the temple was founded some 20 odd years ago by the efforts of Ram Das. Check the website if you’re hungry for more history and accurate info.

This male peacock must have his home here. I counted three females as well. I once lived in a community that had peacocks and have fond memories of the place and the exotic energy the peacocks added, not to mention the blood-curdling screams at odd hours.

The deal with the Temple residents is that they are dedicated to feeding people as part of their spiritual practice, so on Sunday at lunch time anyone and everyone is invited to share a meal that they prepare. The typical Indian food is always tasty and the portions generous. Dessert and their signature homemade chai are also included. In season they have extensive gardens which supply fresh ingredients. A spirit of beauteous bounty and generosity permeates the place and leaves you feeling more optimistic about the human experience.

I noticed this decal on a window depicting Hanuman, the magical monkey god, flying through the air. The reflections add context. The head of the monkey is hard to see, but is located in the center of the photo. My own spiritual teacher, Gangji, credits her enlightened state to Papaji, a Hindu sage who was a devotee of the more famous figure, Ramana. So her lineage is Hindu even though she, like Ram Das, was born and raised in the USA. In any case I feel at home at this ashram and often run into people I’ve met here in Taos when I show up on a Sunday. It’s becoming an integrated part of my Taos experience.

The weather today was a cloudy but balmy 47 degrees, probably pretty fair for March at 7,200 feet. These crocus blossoms, growing in a flowerbed at the Temple, lend hope for more spring-like movement in the plant world looking forward. I consider them blog-worthy harbingers of the spring equinox, March 20. The astrology of this day I plan to blog about on my “other” blog site, SoulSpeak.

While obviously not a “fresh” flower this fading blossom was sitting alone on a railing and its color and very presence shocked and pleased my dull winter sensibilities. It has a wabi-sabi quality, a reminder of how all beauty progresses into a fade. I particularly love the sprinkling of red on the greenish center parts. Very painterly.

Saving the best for last, let me introduce Zinnia, daughter of Meem. She and mom were walking up the path to the temple when I intercepted them. Zinnia was in the best of moods. Her hat is a family heirloom previously worn by a couple of her older brothers, according to Meem. I believe that’s an earthworm, the white snake-like shape on the hat. My kind of hat for sure!  I want to honor both Zinnia and the hat (and the worm) with my photo. I’m grateful to these subjects for their generous cooperation.