October’s Last Flames


I share this photo of Burch Street taken a couple of days ago as a nod to the beauty of October here in Toas. I see from the weather forecasts for the week ahead that we will continue to have lower temps than we’ve seen since last year this time and a noticeable lack of rain. Time to switch out those skimpy summer clothes for the layers of winter.

Closer to home, this is part of one of the apricot trees in the orchard near my house. These trees are favorites of the local ravens who favor their high branches. I have come to have a deep affection for these particular trees, their sprawling shapes, the dark color of their bark.

On a walk along Maestas road a couple of days ago with friends we ventured into a field along the Rio Chiquito River and came upon a small apple orchard that was being frequented by bears. There were luckily none in sight but their scat was all over the place.  It was a quiet, beautiful spot with plenty of apples. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera. I figured there are bears there because there are fewer barking dogs than around our orchard, which is also closer to a main highway, instead of a river. Still, not that far away.

 This shot of a last, lone wild plum expresses the spirit of a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi. There is even a gift store in Taos by that name that specializes in Japanese imports.

I have a long history of discovering (and re-discovering by accident) a well-known small book that can be found in libraries in almost any town which attempts to explain it. When I found it again in the Taos library my first year here I decided to illustrate it with photography. This year I plan to do that again, with fresh photos and hopefully deeper insight. The book is available for sale at the Wabi-Sabi store.

I was at the Hanuman Temple last Sunday for lunch and a circle of people were creating this Goddess Yantra out of vegetable died rice. I had never happened on to this before and was intrigued. As it turned out there is an annual ritual event called Durga Puja that last for several days starting with the New Moon and going through the First Quarter, when the moon is half full. It celebrates Durga and various Hindu Goddesses who are aspects of her. To learn more go to the Hanuman Temple website (easy to find via Google).

This photo I took later when I attended the evening ceremony.

This was taken during the ceremony which involved various oils, prayers and finally singing and blessings. I was honored to be present. Each night there is a new Yantra for a different Goddess.

And what would the last blog of October be without the colorful generosity of squash at the farm market last Saturday? And here’s to the market itself which will be having its last event in a few days! When I think of the market I always am reminded of the glorious diversity of the Taos region, well represent by both the buyers and the farmers each week. It’s a beacon of Taos as a living example of what might have happened if most of the native population of what is now the USA had not been decimated. Weekly through the summer months it becomes a theater of integration for all who live in the region. It may sound idealistic, coming from a somewhat newly arrived Anglo, but for those of us who have mostly lived in typical US towns the contrast is both brightly real and welcome.

Potter shards discovered in my back yard

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