Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in New Mexico

The photo above comes from a bulk email I got from Robert Mirabal's website. I thought this illustrates this time of year in New Mexico perfectly.

If you aren't familiar with Robert Mirabal, he is a contemporary Native American recording artist who is doing unbelievably wonderful music. Check out his websites as well as YouTube videos of his performances.

I first discovered him when I ran across a PBS telethon where they were showing his "Songs From A Painted Cave" performance. I wished then as I still do that I had a copy of this video...some day I will. At that time all my budget would allow was for me to purchase the CD which I almost wore out.

When we were in New Mexico in the fall of 2007 we visited the Taos Pueblo where I met his brother (I think) and member of his group. Dana bought be a flute and a copy of the newest CD called "In The Blood". I am listening to that CD even as I write.

After my heart attack I was given a plastic meter to blow in several times a day to help my lungs heal. After a few days of that I put it away and picked up the flute Dana had bought me. I hadn't had time to learn to use it and now during my recovery I had nothing but time. I wouldn't dare say that I can play it but with lots of practice I eventually learned to stop making it sound like a animal caught in a trap. I even learned to play "Amazing Grace"on it. I spent so much time in bed and the flute became a good companion as I spent many hours each day playing it.

And I will tell you in all honesty that I credit it with its part in my recovery. Unlike the sterile plastic meter that shouted "illness" my flute was made from a rich wood (the kinds escapes me now) with a beautiful glow to it. I learned to position the beautiful carved horse fetish on top for just the right sound and was surprised at what it took to train my fingers to cover the holes to get the right notes. My flute and my use of it is a living creative thing...like me.

I love my flute and am looking forward to purchasing another one on our next trip to the Pueblo.

As long as I'm talking about the Taos Pueblo I'll share a wish from my wish list with you. It is my wish that one day before I leave this good earth that I am able to be at the Taos Pueblo on Christmas Day as the sun sets to witness the Matachines Dance or Deer Dance. I have read about this for years, especially when reading biographies of other artist or writers who have seen this performance and I long to join their ranks.

Below is a beautiful oil painting by Valerie Graves of her interpetation of the

Monday, December 8, 2008

Something really cool - literally!

On our trip to Red River we were riding behind my brother-in-law Harold Sexton and my sister Vicki. The road we traveled in that mountainous area was full of twists and turns. We rounded a curve and Dana throttled up the bike for the straight way which lay ahead when all of a sudden my brother-in -law made a very sudden stop followed my a u-turn and headed back passing us in the process. After a few chosen cuss words Dana followed suit. By the time we got turned around Harold and Vicki had pulled over to the side of the road and had hopped off their bike.

My sister Vicki was excited as she told us why we had made such a sudden stop. You will remember from my last post that although my father leased a small cafe in Red River for many summers I had not officially visited there until this trip. Prior to my birth my entire family spent many wonderful summers in Red River and all of my life I would sit and listen to them tell stories about those same summers. One of Vicki's memories was making the car trip from our home in Clayton, New Mexico up to Red River. She said that just before reaching Red River our father would always stop the car and let her and my big sister, La Vonne, get out of the car and get a drink of water from this trough made from a tall tree that had fallen and the mountain stream ran in such a way that the water came running down the length of the tree before dropping back into a stream. Whether natural or man made I can't say but Vicki told us that Daddy always stopped there for as far back as she could remember.

Now suddenly, going down the road Vicki spotted this old "rest stop" that she had not visited in 51 years.

We all bent down and drank from this ice cold fountain and marveled that it was still here after all this time. It was bittersweet - the occasion not the water - to think of our father and mother and our grandparents who had been such a large part of our association with Red River and to be here now without them. So much time has passed and so much has changed but the water, the water is still flowing...