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.

Quick Draw Art in Taos

Richard Nichols was focused on his job when I passed by his location in the 10th annual Quick Draw Art event that benefits the Taos Center for the Arts. He has a studio over on Ledoux that you can reach through the Blumenschein courtyard.

Leigh Gusterson was making great progress on her painting here around 2:00 PM. This year there were about 40 artists, in a diversity of media, invited to participate. I understand this year’s Quick Draw was well attended and raised a good amount of money for the TCA. The work, begun at noon, is auctioned around 4:00 in the afternoon to the highest bidder.

Ed Sandoval was working on a larger canvas and I noticed his painting style was very active. I believe his painting turned out to sell for a nice high price, benefitting everyone.

Honestly by the time I arrived at the Quick Draw I had been taking my time through the Saturday Farm Market, the Taos Fall Arts Festival painting exhibit (lots to see there) and had looked up a friend selling wares at the Arts & Crafts festival at Kit Carson Park. I was running out of steam. Next year I will make this event more of a priority. I really would have appreciated the opportunity to put faces to the names of well-known Taos painters and other artists.

This photo taken at the farm market says it all about the time of year. Nature’s ability to come up with colors and forms for the humble squash seems infinite. My own garden is still producing tomatoes, zucchini and lemon cucumbers at the front of the house. The salad greens I keep fenced in the back are perking up at the cooler weather. And there are lots of last minute annuals in both locations trying to make some seeds before it’s too late. The birds are enjoying the sunflower seeds while they’re abundant.

This aging sunflower plant is my first photo of fall colors in the landscape around my home in Talpa. I’ve heard there are lower-elevation areas that have already had frosty nights, but so far not where I live above the Rio Chiquita River. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast for temperatures at night and it looks like our warm weather will continue on.

I just looked at the clock and it says 2:10 PM. Normally I’d be thinking I just have time to make it to Cafe Loka for an afternoon break, but sadly that business, my heart’s favorite, closed last Friday. I will really miss that place and I’m sure I’m in good company.

I am in love with this sign that greeted me on the way to the parking lot at the Hanuman Temple Sunday. Great wisdom, at least for a Sunday.

Tipis and Temples in Taos

I know, it looks like Mongolia, but it’s Taos, in one of her many faces. Take a turn off Medio on Mondragon and enjoy the bumpy dirt road (no speed bumps necessary). I was there for a presentation offered by two ambassadors from Peru, who represent the Kipatsi Indigenous Work Group. I believe the event was hosted by Vista Paz Taos. Nyna Matsiak invited me and the above photo is her family’s home.

This was taken inside the tipi where we gathered. These lovely gentlemen are Asheninka Mino and Emilio Salvatierra. They are presently living in Albuquerque but come up to Taos at intervals at the invite of Vista Paz Taos. There were about a dozen locals attending. There was a translator on hand, who works with Kipatsi, to help with the conversation. Oddly, I found when they spoke Spanish I could almost understand what they were saying. Possibly they slowed down their natural speech rhythm for this purpose? I was very touched by the effect it had on me and found their very presence inspiring.

Of course, they have goals similar to all of us, survival of our chosen or inherited homelands and into the future sustainable living close to land that is free of rape and pillage by the profit machine.

I took this shot as I was departing around 8 PM. No doubt you’ll hear more about the adventures of Nyna and her farm off the grid and the Kipatsi work group, not to mention the interesting goings on at Vista Paz Taos.

I also attended lunch last Sunday at the Hanuman Temple in Taos, an exotic place if you’ve never been there. They serve their lunches starting at 1 PM every Sunday as part of their spiritual practice and the outdoor serving area is entirely free of any hint of collecting money. They do have a little store near the kitchen area. This was my second time and, like the first, there were lots of people eating and socializing. The food is Indian style, warm and spicy and delicately delicious.

Ganesha holds a place of honor at the entrance to the compound from the parking lot. This is the season for local marigolds and are a popular flower both in the Hindu culture and in Mexico. I have a few plants but they have yet to flower. I had a marigold conversation on Saturday with Tara, who is one of the gardeners on the Hanuman Temple property. She was offering them for sale at the farm market last Saturday and said they always try to grow a lot of them so they can use them at the temple and sell them, but it’s hard to get them to bloom early where they are located, a giant step down from Taos proper on a little road off Valverde.

So as a newbie gardener in Taos I’m taking note. Start your marigolds in a greenhouse if you have one, or indoors, early. That would probably be along with your heirloom tomatoes of Siberian descent! Yes, my tomatoes are still producing but I’ll admit this past week they have slowed down a touch (due to lack of Siberian heritage?). Their feet are still staying cosy inside their “walls of water’ but the tops will be vulnerable come the first cold night. We won’t even mention the touchingly beautiful morning glories I have climbing up everything in sight now. They will be the first to go in the cold. Ah, life and death in the garden.

Downtown Kit Carson

This Saturday I mis-read the paper and tried to attend an art opening at a gallery on Kit Carson Road. The good news is that it got me out exploring along Kit Carson. For some reason I’ve been reluctant to wander around downtown. Maybe when the summer tourists thin out? I love taking photos into windows so you get a mix of what’s inside and out. This reclining figure in one of the Kit Carson galleries captures the best of what I’m always looking for.

This is the look of the left side of Kit Carson Road as you start down it from the main intersection in downtown Taos. All along are old historic adobe buildings which have, over time, housed all kinds of enterprises, no doubt. Most of them are now art galleries, some full of small crafts items and miscellanea of the Southwest region and others offer fine art. The only place I found open was offering just about anything a tourist might want to buy on a trip to Taos. There were no customers and the salesman seemed eager to talk about the hot summer we’ve been having and the meagerness of the rain.

This is one of the many carved doors along that stretch of shops. This is the kind of thing I like. You won’t find it in a mall and it might be worth traveling to Taos to see, if it’s the kind of thing you appreciate. Really it is here and there and everywhere in and around Taos, though not with consistency. You have to stay alert for special hand-carved artistic accents on buildings, but you will be rewarded time and time again. Those moments are times when I remember to express gratitude for the lucky stars who guided me here.

This is the outdoor seating area, I believe, for Tazza Coffee, located on the opposite side of the street. Looked inviting. I am one who loves the concept of sitting in or outside a cafe, with a friend, enjoying some coffee or tea. It’s one of those luxuries that makes life feel abundant and full of possibilities. Back in Ketchum I indulged in this activity frequently, but since I’ve moved to Taos, not so much. And when I do I head to Cafe LOKA and find it meets my desire perfectly. I know Tazza has its fans, though, and perhaps one day I’ll meet someone who likes to go there and I’ll join them once in a while?

Speaking of possibilities, a friend took me along to the Sunday lunch at the Hanuman Temple in Taos last Sunday and an entire new world of possibilities opened before me. I ran into three friends there, one a woman I had recently met who saw my car’s 5B plates and approached me, guessing I was from Ketchum. She just moved here from Boise, Idaho. Anyway, I immediately felt at home, just as I had when I went several times to watch the Tibetan monks work on their mandala a month ago or so. There will be more about the Temple in future blogs.