(Click here for Part I)
Once we arrived to the Sante Fe area, that was kind of it. Even though we had planned a couple of days in each destination, it effortlessly turned into a week here. There is simply an abundance of beauty to see and adventures to be had around here.
On a Saturday, we spent the morning at the Nambe Pueblo for its Feast day, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi (the patron of animals and ecology). I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit a modern day pueblo. It was beautiful, driving around there. The country roads and the houses felt imbued with tranquility. The sun was shining generously, it was a gorgeous day. I quickly realized that my ideas on present day Native American culture were a little naive, and romanticized. When I had called for information on the Feast Day (there was little information listed online) and was told the first ceremonial event would take place at 9AM, I was surprised to discover once we arrived that this gathering was no other than mass. Indeed, this particular pueblo is part of those that have been, over time, Hispanicized and Catholicized. It was a brand new experience for me, one that I welcomed with an open heart, a respectful mind and curious eyes. I felt honored to be there and to witness a culture, life, and community opening their doors to us.
Life is full of humor and surprises. The priest leading mass looked disturbingly identical to Louis CK (one of my favorite people), which brought me more than a few heartfelt laughs. But I also found myself in tears taking in the wisdom and beauty expressed in these special moments when, regardless of our origins, we find we are all living the story of Life, losing and gaining, grieving and birthing, being called back to Spirit, finding the need to gather, to ground in tradition, to celebrate the ancient, to honor the Divine that accompanies our human lives.
Following was an entrancing ceremonial dance, where generations of men, women, and children intertwined and moved to the sounds of drumming and chanting. Their colorful guises and shouts, their beautiful bodies dancing in the sun, were quite a sight. A powerful experience that inspires respect and heightens consciousness. We then wandered through the arts & crafts fair, leaving with some jewels and Indian fried bread.
We spent the afternoon strolling around Sante Fe. Eating (always important), exploring, enjoying the shops and architecture, sipping on the deliciously warm atmosphere of the buzzing town. We napped in the grass, in the sun, in a park, before heading to theaters to watch the Skeleton Twins, a movie I completely ADORED. It prompted some huge releases of emotion, from hysterical laughing to hysterical crying, and everything in between. I found it pitch perfect: wildly entertaining, deeply fulfilling, and brilliantly written and acted.
I loved learning about Saint Francis of Assisi, a man who cherished the Earth and all of its beings, calling them and our planet and sun and moon his brothers and sisters. He even referred to his chronic illnesses and death as his sisters. What wisdom! Stories tell of him preaching to the birds and dissuading a wolf from harming a town. He believed Nature itself to be the mirror of God.
The next day, we went to meet our host and new friend. A dear friend’s sister offered to host us for a few days, and I was ecstatic. We had the chance to spend about 5 days at her most lovely home, got to know this stunningly wonderful lady, a true lover of New Mexico who had an abundance of amazing recommendations, and the absolute sweetest of dogs. My dream of staying in an adobe house came true. We were walking distance from an incredible gluten-free bakery (which easily became breakfast headquarters), and morning walks through the radiant neighborhood and its Fall-colored gardens and bird songs and roaming kitties filled me with joy. My heart sang as I woke each morning knowing what awaited me.
On Sunday, we did little but rest, leaving the house only to get a taste of heaven at the Teahouse. Canyon Road also turned out to be one of my favorite areas in Santa Fe. Such lush beauty, and pops of color at every corner. Simply irresistible to me! Food-wise, I also recommend this delicious and original Ayurveda-based vegetarian cafe (that comes with a chai shoppe! Uhm, heck yes!).
A wise quote that really spoke to me (after Garett pointed out that it was to be read from bottom to top, once I’d read it three times backwards, and yet, even then, it spoke to me so much!), which I later found written down in one of my dad’s notebooks.
On Monday, we hiked through the Sangre de Cristo mountains and wandered through a most enchanted forest. It was truly magnificent. A magical sea of yellow. I savored every moment of being in this amazing wonderland, feeling the childlike thrills of mingling with the marvel of this world.
The next day was pure blissful relaxation. We spent the afternoon soaking at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. This place is so awesome. You pay a mere $18 for the day, and you have access to a beautiful and peaceful area where you can enjoy 5 different pools, geothermal mineral waters having flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. And in between soaking, you can enjoy the sauna, steam room, and mud bath. There are hammocks and lounging chairs to bathe in the sun, and showers featuring luxurious wild crafted bath and beauty products. Just… so delightful.
We drove away feeling deeply rejuvenated and relaxed, headed to a very special concert. I’ve grown up with my dad raving about this magnificent Indian percussionist named Zakir Hussain. I’d seen videos upon videos of this genius man, and it just so happened that the day before, Garett had seen in the local newspaper he’d been playing in town. We were able to snag a couple of great seats, in a gorgeous venue, too. That evening, in the grand presence of three virtuosos (the show also featured violinist Kumaresh Rajagopalan and veena instrumentalist Jayanthi Kumaresh), we voyaged through the transcendental sounds of music thousands of years old. Ascending through cosmic beats and feeling our souls plucked and vibrated along with the singing of the strings… I thought to myself, this is what it means to channel Spirit through your craft. The beauty and grace of this performance left me speechless, and awakened.
The next day we ventured up the High Road to Taos, to visit this funky town and explore the Earthship Biotecture World Headquarters. The High Road demonstrates some of New Mexico’s most magnificent landscapes. Venturing through the highs and lows of the red desert earth, traversing vibrant forests overlooking lush country hills, and swaying in and out of strange and colorful little towns. A true delight for the senses and the soul.
We quickly stopped through town for some lunch before heading to the earthships, passing over the dizzying Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and its astonishingly beautiful sights.
I was really excited to finally see some earthships in the flesh, after hearing about them for years and years from my brother, who has long been a passionate and knowledgeable advocate of them. Experiencing them was deliriously magical. Walking through these homes of the future. These homes of the New World. The kind of creative genius that renews your faith in humanity. Yep. So much love and gratitude for the goodness of what my fellows are birthing and developing in this world.
If you’re not familiar with them, earthships are highly sustainable buildings made with natural and recycled materials that produce their own electricity and food, harvest and reuse water for a variety of uses, and provide thermal/solar heating and cooling for comfortable temperatures in any climate. Fascinating, revolutionary.
We even had a fun little run-in with the man who began it all, rockstar Mike Reynolds.
I knew little about the man, but investigating this brilliant system, I remember thinking… this man is attuned to something else.
As we prepared to leave, we walked through the gift shop, and there I saw some of Mike’s books. I was very attracted to one of them in particular, who revealed itself in a mind-blowing instance of synchronicity. I bought it and became completely entranced with it. Indeed, it turns out Reynolds is a metaphysician. This book (A Coming of Wizards by Michael Reynolds) is experiential, expansion-inducing, and just plain fantastic. I highly recommend it.