This was my first foray into New Mexico. I love firsts. I stayed in Taos at a darling, old remodeled inn that had live music every night in the lobby/bar which I could hear clearly from my room, and they served one of the best chile rellenos I have ever had.
From Taos I took a few, one-day drives, first to Red River to meet a friend of a friend. Jodee works for Outskirts Press and helped Lowell publish his book “Biodesign, Out For a Walk” (see my post “One touch of nature” for more info). She lives happily in a cabin in her dream, small, mountain town and rides horses, has two dogs, walks on a treadmill as she works and has an inspiring life story to share. I love these connections as I travel, people have been so generous and kind to open their hearts and lives to me. And I light up whenever I get to share my adventures as well.
On that warm evening there was a blues/rock band playing in the Taos plaza, and I gathered there with maybe 500-1000 other people to enjoy music and dancing. Children were hula hooping, dogs were wagging and people watching dominated the scene. If you’ve been following my blog you know that one of my delights is dancing so I watched, waited and hoped to be asked to dance. About 30 minutes before the band was to end for the evening I said “screw it” and went out, joining the couples, and danced by myself. It is such excellent exercise and I had been cooped up in the car for days and I am finding that I care less about what people think of me. I was a bit surprised that no one engaged in dancing with me, but they seemed content to watch from the sidelines. Disappointing, though I did get a lot of smiles and affirmation afterward from the braver folks.
The next morning I wrote a facebook post that I was off for a day to Santa Fe. On my drive there I received a comment on my post from a darling Seattle friend, Myra, that said “Go visit my sister in Santa Fe!! At the Sign of the Pampered Maiden!!” Now this was cryptic and I thought that it sounded much like following a treasure map, so of course I was intrigued and knew I would google it when I landed in town. My first plan of action in Santa Fe was to go to Cafe Pasqual’s, a restaurant recommendation from my sister. I took all sorts of wrong turns, got a bit lost, but finally landed in the downtown corridor looking for parking. I drove up a street haphazardly, stopped at a stop sign and straight ahead was a store front, “Sign of the Pampered Maiden”. It was less than a block away from the restaurant I was looking for! I love magical moments and this was yet another. As soon as I parked I scampered into the adorable woman’s clothing store and asked for my friend’s sister and immediately encountered a delightful lady who looked like Myra’s twin. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour trying on clothes and added a few pieces to my suitcase that are perfect for traveling. It gave me the feeling of familiarity in a strange place and joy in unexpected, chance meetings.
Cafe Pasqual’s is a very popular place, and there was a line of people at the door. I smiled at the host and asked about the wait and he said that he could seat me immediately at the “community table.” Having skipped breakfast, this was a very happy arrangement, and I grinned as I was lead to the oval table in the center of the tiny restaurant and seated next to another lady eating alone. We chatted away like long lost buddies; she was a delight! A young couple across from me shared recommendations on what to order, and another couple found out that I am auditioning for Shakespeare companies and said “Do you know Tina Packer?” Well, Tina Packer is an idol of mine that I had the privilege to learn from this last January at her homestead in Lenox, MA. It is such a small, small world and I can’t say enough how happy I am to be part of such serendipitous events. Oh yeah, the food….it was MARVELOUS! I had some kind of southwestern huevos mutulenos- eggs on corn tortilla with black beans, sauteed banana, feta, green peas and green and red chile salsa. Yum!
I visited two churches and soaked in the quiet, peacefulness of stained glass, wood pews, fountains, statues, altars, and even walked a labyrinth. “The Labyrinth’s path is like the path of life.There are twists and turns, feelings of being lost, encounters with others on your path, the thrill of accomplishment at the center, and sometimes a flash of insight before returning.” My current walk is a maze of all these things and it was confirmed that I am living a mystical experience.
I strolled around the adorable town not caring where I went or how lost I got. It reminded me of Guadalajara and their beautiful open-air cafes and markets. I walked into little alleys to come out into abundant courtyards overflowing with flowers, trees and lushness so beautiful it took my breath away. Inside these courtyards were restaurants with twinkling lights and white table cloths. My only disappointment was that I hadn’t stayed in Santa Fe as I had to drive the hour and a half back to Taos and leave the quaint, but hip, town to explore more on a future trip. I will definitely be back.
Leaving the next morning I popped into World Cup Cafe and had a very wonderful latte to go. It has been hard to find good coffee coming from my spoiled Seattle abundance of coffee houses, but this cup reminded me of home and I sang snatches of “Country Roads” in the car and reflected on how the world can be so gloriously small and variously beautiful. I also recalled a quote on a sculpture in Santa Fe, “I am not asking to be loved I want to love.” Life is grand. Salud!