Santa Fe, Turquoise, and Zozobra

I always thought “turquoise” was the most delicious word to wrap my tongue around. So much is going on with its delightful twists and turns.

Some summers saw us travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend time with family who lived in an adorable adobe house. I loved it there. It was dusty and hot and full of colors and sounds and smells that we didn’t have in Detroit.

Our family has a long history in Santa Fe. Before and during WW2, my parents used to hang out in Taos with Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence. I wish I could remember more of their fascinating stories but I was an extremely obnoxious eye-rolling teen and ignored mostly everything they ever said. About anything, haha.

During those trips to Santa Fe, of course I had to have an elaborate fiesta dress and lots of turquoise jewelry. This was probably when I first fell in love with this exquisite rock. I surely wish I still had my little fiesta dresses for Angel Girl, but all I have is my mom’s dress.

We would go to La Fonda and the Plaza where the Native Americans spread their treasures on blankets and we’d spend hours walking around.

This isn’t very PC but one day a little girl yelled at her mom and pointed to me and said, “Look at her, mommy! That’s a real Indian girl!” I always thought that was the coolest thing although I’m sure it was because I was very tan from being outside all day (no sunscreen back then) and my hair was plaited in two long braids.

Sometimes we’d be there for Fiesta and the Burning of Zozobra, an event to dispel the hardships and travails of the past year. Zozobra is the creation of Will Shuster, one of Los Cinco Pintores, a group of artists who made their way to New Mexico in the 1920s. Shuster’s creation first burned in his backyard in 1924 as a 6-foot effigy, and over the years, has grown to a towering 50-foot high marionette.

Photos of Santa Fe from SantaFeSelection.com

Somewhere there’s a photo of me (with pigtails) standing on the steps just beneath the not-yet-burned Zozobra but I couldn’t locate it. When I do, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: My memory was inaccurate! This is a photo I was thinking of, but it wasn’t me, it’s my older brother and my parents, way before I was born…

Another photo, during another summer visit in Santa Fe with Zozobra…

The Burning of Zozobra has been called the first Burning Man, but I don’t like the comparison at all as the intentions of the two events are lightyears apart.

Searching for Doors of Perception

NOT the psychedelic kind that Huxley wrote about…but opening the door to self reflection with love and compassion.

This photo looks like it could be one of my favorite places, a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or here at Vermillion Cliffs, where I snapped this photo.

August Musings

This poem by Mary Oliver makes me think of the Pacific Northwest where blackberries grow freely on every fence and in every alley and all along the path we take to walk to the Salish Sea.

The Angel kids, as they carefully pick blackberries to avoid thorns, their faces and hands stained purple, turn now and again to share, “Here’s a nice big one for you, Grandma!”

August

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

Oasis in a Sea of Ugly

Statement of fact: I don’t like the look of my “village”.

It resembles a village as much as WalMart resembles a Chanel boutique.

Oasis (plural: oases) An oasis is a location with water in a desert, or figuratively can be a happy place surrounded by sadness, which is exactly what I discovered today.

In the almost forty years I’ve lived here, local elected officials (90% of whom I’ve consistently voted against) have destroyed any and all coastal personality by tearing down most of the original buildings and erecting sharp cornered ugly institutional-looking boxes.

Have I mentioned that it’s ONE BLOCK from the beach? You’d never know it, though. It makes me angry. They could have done so much better and it’s as if the designers and architects made a conscious effort to destroy the organic relationship we have with the sand and the Pacific ocean. It’s mindboggling, it truly is.

Because of that, I normally stay away from going there and when visitors come, we go to the beach but don’t hang around or patronize the stores or restaurants. It’s depressing.

However, I actually discovered a couple of gems, two little oases wedged between hulking sad monstrosities; a sanctuary.

I’ve been searching for a birthday gift for DIL and we share a common love of crystals and gems. I heard of a place off the beaten path downtown and thought I’d stop by. I didn’t have high hopes though, but was more than pleasantly surprised by The Village Rock Shop on State Street.

From the moment I walked in, I was surrounded by positive energy and a huge array of rocks and gifts. For DIL, I found an Angel Aura Tower. Doesn’t that sound mystical and intriguing? It’s formed as a result of the alchemical process that bonds platinum and silver, sometimes gold, into pure quartz. It is the perfect gift for anyone who seeks guidance and inspiration from the angels. This magical stone is a powerful aid in getting in touch with celestial beings, exactly right for a mom of two, haha.

Directly next door is another shop I recommend: Wild Gold Gift Shop. It’s beyond adorable. Check out their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wild_gold_shop/ I spoke with the husband of the owner, Kim Keenan, and he said they were still working on the website, so I can’t link to it right now.

If you’re in the Carlsbad area and as disappointed as I am about what it looks like, please take the time to travel a few blocks away from the ugliness and visit these two shops. You’ll be happy you did!

Your purchases from these independent, local stores support not only the owners of the shop but also local artists and artisans.

And finally, hurry before they’re torn down and displaced to make way for more hideous, repulsive, unsightly boxes.

Whidbey Island

I did not take this photo but I wish I had. I think my son likes to torment me and send me pics of places I wish I was. He loves the Pacific Northwest, so different from growing up as a Southern California native, so much green! And rain, of course.

It’s as beautiful as a painting.

Whidbey Island is in Puget Sound, north of Seattle. The island’s rugged terrain spans beaches, hills and farmland. On its northwest tip, Deception Pass State Park offers clifftop views, forest trails and freshwater lakes. To the south, Fort Casey Historical State Park is home to a lighthouse and gun battery. The coastal towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley have boutiques, cafes and galleries.

I have been there in the past and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

Trust Your Gut

I really thought I had posted this before, but found it in my drafts folder.

This was a brief moment in time but chock-full of unanswered questions and potential menace where my gut intelligence sussed out something so weird and so random. It was like a scene on a TV show.

A while back before the pandemic stopped most travel, I was taking a short flight. I had an aisle seat. As this was a smaller aircraft, there were only two seats on either side; window or aisle.

A man walked by and said his was the window seat. I got up so he could squeeze in. He was a big man, not really obese, but close to it. His bulk took up the entire seat. Thank you, he said several times, although I’m not sure why he kept repeating himself. He was looking at me as if he wanted to strike up a conversation and I wasn’t really feeling particularly chatty so I began to read a book. I could feel his eyes on me, though, and I felt a creepy vibe.

Here’s where the first strange stirrings of anticipatory dread occurred.

In the periphery of my mind, or maybe it was my gut, I had an odd feeling. That’s the only way I can describe it. Odd. Nothing tangible to point my finger at, nothing out of place, nothing I could see with my eyes, but a real feeling that something was wrong with this person flitted through my mind and my gut. In fact, I was on high alert for any gesture or words or behavior that might be inappropriate.

It’s unusual to have a first impression like that, don’t you agree?

I’ve been learning to trust my gut even when there might be nothing definite to satisfy my need for facts that I can see or hear or touch.

Luckily for me, as I was planning to dread the next few hours, a flight attendant stopped by and asked me if I’d like to move to another row by myself as the plane wasn’t full. I jumped at her suggestion and enjoyed the peace and quiet, all the while wondering what made me feel like there was something wrong with that man.

When we arrived at our destination, I grabbed my suitcase from the overhead bin and impatiently waited my turn to disembark. I didn’t give that man another thought as I was focused on a stop at the nearest restroom.

The next few moments were like a scene out of a TV crime show and it happened SO FAST, almost too much to process.

I noticed a man standing near the place where we all exit from the jetway to the flight waiting area. He had an intense gaze as he watched all the arriving passengers. That means that he obviously had to go through security.

Apparently I was right behind the man I had originally sat with. He was walking as fast as his size would allow. He spotted the waiting man too, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to escape.

The man stopped him, said in a VERY STERN VOICE, “You know that you violated your parole, don’t you?”

The big man stuttered, “Yes.”

“Well, then there’s nothing left to say. You knew what would happen. I’m here to take you back to prison.”

I was gobsmacked (another one of those great descriptive Brit words).

I thought it prudent to extricate myself in case I became an unwilling participant in some sort of dangerous situation. Although I wanted to watch the rest of the show, I continued to the restroom, shaking my head and praising my gut instincts once again.

I KNEW something was off about that man, but I had no idea that he was a criminal.

I want to know the rest of the story. What was he on parole for? What crimes had he committed? Why didn’t TSA do a better job of screening?

And most of all, I’m thankful that for whatever reason, the flight attendant (and the Universe) moved me to safety from any potential harm. Maybe I’m being melodramatic and maybe I’m not. Maybe I really do live an enchanted life. Maybe there ARE angels protecting me.

How crazy is that????

From Bridges to Arches (National Park)

Aspirational…

May be an image of 2 people, mountain, nature and sky

Epic capture in Arches National Park, Grand County, Utah
Photography by Zach Cooley Photo
Check out his Insta, he’s a talented artisan photographer
https://www.instagram.com/zachcooleyphoto/?hl=en

#wordlesswednesday

Zion National Park

Why, hello, you gorgeous angel!

What a little beauty. Sometimes my camera clicks at exactly the right moment. It’s like finding gold.

Vermillion Cliffs

I love this place, too…

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona near the Utah state line.

Known for its colorful swirls of slickrock, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a sherbet-colored dream world filled with fantastical rock formations.

You just can’t take a bad photo surrounded by this kind of beauty.

#wordlesswednesday

Badlands

Forbidding and embracing at the same time. Stark and pure, I love it.

In the Anza Borrego Desert, there’s an area known as the Borrego Badlands. Once undersea, today it’s a maze of hills and arroyos which reveal a hidden treasure of native palms, remote springs, and mysterious concretions.