Tis the Season

People were starting to gather at the Taos Plaza before the official Christmas parade and lighting of the tree last weekend. There were free cups of hot chocolate and cookies along with mild temperatures. This “lighting of the plaza tree” event seems to be the earliest of the many traditional Christmas celebrations for this ever-popular season. From down town there’s no snow visible on Taos Mountain now. The latest talk is that this Sunday there’s a good chance of seeing some.

While walking from the plaza to a nearby store I noticed this creative window design. I wasn’t clear which store it was advertising but I really admired it. Taos has its charm and the holiday season can bring out some inspiration on the part of store owners trying to lure customers. It can be another reason to get out and shop around and even take a look at the rich diversity of crafts made by locals.

Here’s another store window shot, this one belonging to Wabi-Sabi, a store that focuses on gifts, mostly imported from Japan. This store is dear to my heart because they have been carrying my cards for several years now. More recently they have some of my Goddess altars on consignment. You can always count on a cup of tea while you browse.

This Kuan Yin wood altar is one example of my work displayed at Wabi-Sabi.

I’ve got my eye on these painted wood (hand carved?) flying Hanuman ornaments on sale now at the little shop at the Hanuman Temple. They’re $15 and I really admire them. I’m assuming they are imported from India?

I you’re looking for a lovely Christmas shopping experience try Country Furnishings of Taos owned by Mary Shriver. I suspect some people go there to browse just for a pick-me-up. Those are my handmade tree ornaments, which Mary’s carrying for the first time this season. She also has seasonal cards of mine and a few retablos.

Another great store to get to know, if you don’t already, is Garden and Soul, just off the plaza. They specialize in cards and local art. You’ll recognize by now that my work is well represented there with an assortment of offerings corralled in one corner. The store changed hands some months ago. The new owners are a couple, Bob and Stephanie Deavers. I’m sure they’d love you coming in and introducing yourself. Tell them I sent you, as they say.

Because of the location of my house (blocked as I am by trees and power lines) I rarely catch photos of amazing sunsets, of which we have many. I remember when I first moved to Taos I was truly astonished at their nightly show which reminded me of times past when  I lived along the Pacific Ocean in one place or another (San Francisco, Point Arena and Encinitas, all in California, and then time spent in Mexico, especially Todos Santos). There’s no ocean here, but you sure do get the sunsets.

This one caught my attention as it seemed the whole sky was ablaze. I took this shot facing east away from the setting sun.

Wishing you all well as you plot your course through shopping, celebrating and getting those packages wrapped and cards mailed in a timely fashion. Tis the season!



Arroyo Seco #2–Tour

This was taken a mile or so before you arrive in the small town of Arroyo Seco, looking to your right as you drive along. I did stop to take this photo and the dirt road into the Taos Pueblo has a name but I didn’t write it down. Yes, we’ve been having some rain/snow here and there lately. We’ll take the moisture any way we can and the snow does show off the Sangre de Christo mountains nicely. Once you get to Arroyo Seco you really feel the nearness of the mountains and you are in a zone that is no longer flat open mesa. There are creeks and trees.

Here I’m standing behind Santos Y Mas, the store that is now carrying some of my altars, cards and tree ornaments. You can see the relationship between the mountains and the middle of downtown. The famous Taos Cow is just across the street from Santos Y Mas and the place that sells the great tamales is there on the far right of the photo, Abe’s. The restaurant takes up the right side of the building.

Just a skip and a jump over and upwards from the main street to your left is a tempting stroll up to this church. And just about where I stood to take this photo there is a dirt road heading left that goes around the back of the buildings on main street and over to a little neighborhood that leads to the famous Seco Pearl and the newly relocated market, Sol Food.

I talked briefly a couple of weeks ago to the young owner of Sol Food, Cris. He said he grew up in Arroyo Seco. He was very up on all things Arroyo Seco and noted that there was a trend toward economic growth there, not to mention that through the past three years of hard times in the region Arroyo Seco has held steady. He mentioned that it’s a more expensive area to live in, generally, than Taos, so holds up the “high end” of the valley. He feels visitors seem to enjoy the scale and slower pace of the town, find it relaxing and refreshing.

As you can see Seco Pearl is a large place. I understand it wears many hats. Sometimes it’s a community center/dance hall, other times a place to display local wares and also a cafe. Definitely community events happen here and the people of the town feel very affectionate toward it. I read in the paper several weeks ago that it just changed owners. I pledge to visit it on one of my next visits to town and give a report on the latest incarnation.

Here’s one of my tree ornaments on display at Santos Y Mas. They keep a year-round area set up for ornaments. You can’t miss it. The Garden & Soul store in Taos also is keeping a small display of my ornaments year round. I was surprised but some have sold since the winter holiday season.