Montana Wolf

Monday, December 3, 2012

Callings... and Close Calls

Here I am, parked in Babette's driveway on the outskirts of Cortez. It's been wonderful to stop and rest, although rest is hardly the word for the past couple of weeks. First, Thanksgiving feasting rushed down the pike then Babette and I departed the next day for Taos. The purpose of the Taos trip was to spend some time with Jaap, who had offered his place to me to house sit for a few months. I wanted to meet him; to see and feel the studio where I would stay. Babette had never been to Taos so this was a chance for us to get a great hit of New Mexico and, with any luck at all, one of my favorite hot springs, Ojo Caliente.

We arrived Friday night in time to swill margaritas on the balcony of the Taos Inn. We followed that with a walk up the street to hear a two-woman gypsy band. The band wasn't that great but the folks we met in the Ale House were really fun. It was one of those bend-oer-laughing nights. We also stopped by the Stables Gallery for the opening of the annual folk Christmas show: gorgeous art crafts, a packed house and too little time. The next morning we drove around Taos and I showed Babette places I had lived. We stopped at the beautiful Mabel Dodge Lujan House where I took time to walk a labyrinth. This was unexpected; it hadn't been there on my last visit several years ago. I found myself within the circle in a heartbeat; breathing thanks and meditative prayers. Our next stop was St. Francis Church, the spiritual adobe fortress that stills the soul. Jaap's place was not far from there, where we said warm hellos and got to know one another over fresh tazas of espresso. His sweet little studio was on a mesa with direct views of Taos Mountain, the sacred mountain of the Taos Pueblo. It had a sun room where I imagined my next book to take form. We left his rural location and headed to Orlando's for my favorite enchiladas smothered in red chile. O ya, I was in New Mexico again.

There were still many things we could have done in Taos, but we opted to head west towards Ojo Caliente, with a stop for Babette to see the Michael Reynold's earthships. She was, in her own words, "smitten." I look for her to start collecting old tires any day now.

Pottery Shards at Posi
We showed up at Ojo Caliente on a holiday weekend without reservations, lucked out and were able to secure a room after some special attention from the management. ("Thank you!") I smiled and figured it was good karma from including them in my book, New Mexico's Sanctuaries, Retreats and Sacred Places.) The next morning we hiked above the springs to the remnants of the Posi Indian village. We packed and were headed home when we stopped in the village of Ojo to grab some breakfast. More delicious red chile and green chile that burned the roof of our mouths. This is where we met Johnnie who, it turned out, lived above Ojo in the hills. He told us about the cave for which Ojo was named and offered to take us there. So much for heading straight home. We had a fabulous time with him, touring the energy self-sufficient house which he built, viewing his stunning stained glass, and yes, hiking to those magical, sacred caves. Babette even tried out his hand-made didgeridoos. Time slipped away from us on this sun-drenched afternoon.

We headed back to Cortez facing darkness. We stopped in Pagosa Springs for double raspberry truffle breve lattes that kept us awake under a star-studded sky. We were gabbing away about our phenomenal 3 days when we suddenly came upon one of those nasty tire treads that had separated and landed in the middle of the road. In split second time, Babette thought it was a dead or injured deer in the road and jerked the wheel to miss it. The car swerved sharply back and forth, once, twice... barely righting itself as we were thrown back and forth. Life could have ended so fast.

We finished the trip in silence; finally talked about our close call the next day. Babette mentioned how she had strong angels and I told her about mine as well. We smiled at one another, drew deep breaths and exhaled great thanks. Those angels... I had communed with them in the labyrinth.  They were definitely holding hands that night.

The Labyrinth at the Mabel Dodge Lujan House
Blessed Be.

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