April Winds of Change

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We were longing for signs of spring and now we’ve reached the high time of encouraging proof. Still we’re contending with the unsettling roar of winds and the occasional day with a high only in the 40s. We’re trying to be patient, and feel grateful for our luck when we compare our weather with Denver’s recent snows.

Took this photo a week ago in the Taos historic district. Nearby, I noticed the big apricot tree on Bent Street was starting to bloom. Surely this starts a season that’s nice for visitors. It’s still relatively quiet but Spring’s charm is bursting out. Expect wind.

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Around the same time I took this photo of apricot blossoms in the orchard where I live. Those eager apricot trees just can’t wait to get started! They are the first of the local fruit trees to blossom and their beauty deserves a close-up shot like this. I don’t know the odds that they’ll bear fruit this year but you can always assume it’s an iffy proposition. Still they’re beautiful trees that will always shine with their early blossoms.

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I took this last Sunday when I noticed that the acequia water was running in the orchard. These are a couple of the old apricot trees I’m very enchanted with. I have of good view from my backyard of ravens sitting up high in their branches.

You can see the ditch that runs alongside them. This was the first time in our neck of the woods to get the acequia water and my landlord said that the flow was pretty good. My camera and I have had a love affair with the orchard landscape when the water flows and this day was special because it may be my last chance to take in the sweet smells and sights. I’ll be moving to the East Coast toward the end of the month.

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This shot exemplifies the patterns and juxtapositions that the flooding water can create. I especially love seeing the way the apples hold their color as they age and their contrast with the new green grass. Certainly this expresses the sentiment of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy that values images that reflect on the impermanence of living things.

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This image offers more of a detailed look at the same elements, but gives more information about the water and the apples.

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This is my favorite photo of the day. Monet, the impressionist painter comes to mind. Just proves beauty can be found wherever you are living on this amazing planet. The part of the world I’m moving to will be a new experience for me, and one very much in contrast to the landscape here. My heart is being called there by my daughter and two granddaughters.

So when I continue to blog the scenery will change dramatically. I’ll be living in a more urban environment in Portsmouth, NH, located on the edge of the Atlantic, with a short hop up into Maine and an hour’s drive to Boston. Also I can direct my camera’s eye back to family members, as I have in the past.

Some of you will likely lose interest in this new direction my lens is taking. I hope to make good choices as I make this transition and assume that many Taos acquaintances will prefer to be dropped from the list receiving the links. I’m learning that some friends have past ties to the Northeast and they expect to enjoy the photography as much or more than they have seeing Taos.

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Newly budding willow branches blowing in the wind restoring color to our world. This willow tree is very old and large, still thriving in its location near an acequia ditch.

Thank you Toas for all your dramatic and inspiring beauty, your revelations of truth and the people who choose you for their home and became supportive friends. You know I will miss you.

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