Saturday, April 14, 2018

Deteriorating and unstable

It's funny how often there's a theme to a week.
Funny as in ironic and poignant,
not funny as in hilarity, comedy club funny.

Our country has an egoistical, cruel, morally bankrupt 
and self absorbed little man at the helm;
one whose very house of cards is starting to crumble, 
making him feel cornered and ready to strike out 
at everyone and everything he can 
to deflect and focus attention away from his crimes.
And, because of the broken world we live in,
there's no end to the trouble he can find-
or create. 
It's not a good combination.
And it's only going to get worse,
for all of us.

I can only hope there are enough people of good conscience and courage
that when it starts to hit the fan -and it will -
they'll stand up for our future 
and for the best of the ideals upon which this country was founded. 
(Not the institutional racism, patriarchy and systemic inequality -
surely, sweet baby Jesus, we can evolve past all that some day!)

As for the people in the ruling party 
who enabled this ignorant racist,
standing by silently during all his abhorrent behavior
that endangered not only our country but the world,
who have somehow now reconnected their spines  -
to walk away,
not having the courage to deal with the mess they made -
 I hope they burn.

"Deteriorating and unstable" are also words used by my physicians this week
when describing my xray findings.
Weeks of back pain, 
with numbness and tingling down my legs,
got me a series of tests and, 
since I had decided I wasn't accepting any new diagnoses,
I was almost pleased that the results were 'merely' an escalation
of results I got several years ago,

No surprise, I'm shrinking -
because after decades of being upright, 
the spaces/joints between my vertebrae have hypertrophied. 
(Which as far as I can figure out, makes me like 70% of folks my age.
Mine however have shown a 'marked deterioration'
from just 2 years ago;
nothing like RA to speed up trouble with your joints!
And ever a 'mover and shaker',
my vertebrae are also periodically moving backward 
(posterior subluxation)
pinching nerves, impeding blood flow and causing pain.

More physical therapy,
more opportunities to practice zen and the art of aging gracefully
(which, so far, I'm flunking)
and more rationalizations for justifying getting a cleaning lady!

Deteriorating and unstable ...
the theme of the week.
I don't like it in my body 
 any more than I like it in my country. 
Taking a deep breath 
and getting on with it,
because what other choice do you have?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Santa Fe wrap up

For those who have asked:
I stayed at The Lodge in Santa Fe
and would definitely stay there again.
At the time I booked it, 
my son didn't have an apartment in Santa Fe
although by the time I got there, he did -
and it was less than 2 miles away from the Inn,
so it was ideally located for us.

They have a shuttle that will take you to all the downtown locations 
and pick you back up for free so, 
if you don't want to worry about parking or driving in a new city, 
it's perfect.

That said,
Santa Fe is a relatively small capital city;
not overwhelming at all.
I never had trouble with parking or driving.

We tried several restaurants in town that were fantastic:
The Pantry
Mucho Gusto
Bumblebees Baja Grill
Dr Field Goods Kitchen
Counter Culture
and, in Taos, 
(We were eating very late - 
trust me, the Bumblebee is usually busy!)

Still not convinced?

Here are a few final images from the area that might turn the tide...
some of the art pieces are along Canyon Road,
a street filled with galleries and shops.

I will never have a life, a house or the discretionary income 
in which spending $22,000 for a piece of yard art makes sense,
but I can certainly appreciate them will walking around in the sun -
and looking is free.

Let's meet here
Where pastel colored rain revives the ancient magical land
Where solitude, art and beautiful bones reveal Natures plan
Where sunsets catch cliffs, clouds and human Souls on fire
Where quiet sacred nights softly unveil Heaven's deep desire.

Let's meet here
Where creative spirits venture to a thin place in the Faraway
Where falling tears create music helping the heart find its way
Where the world we know dissolves,
a higher vision realized
where God's Love and Grace, Joy Hope and Peace abide.

Let's meet here ... to play in this sun kissed land.
Let's meet here ... and pray together once again.

(from the Peace Garden at Ghost Ranch)
Goodbye, for now, Santa Fe.

I'll be back.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bandelier National Monument

Certainly don't want to wrap up my visit in Santa Fe 
without suggesting that you add a few more places
 to your list of "must see's"!

One in particular that puts human beings in their proper perspective ...
the cliff dwellings at Bandelier;

about an hour outside of Santa Fe,
right next door to Los Alamos.
There's the chance to walk/climb up to natural 'caves' in the hillside
(look for the line of people about halfway in the picture below)
where a community/tribe of approx 4,000 people lived centuries ago.
Community buildings were on the 'ground' level

You can see the outline of one of the buildings still on the ground.
Clearly, fear of heights was not in the DNA  of this tribe!
 What fun Art Boy and I had in speculating about the petroglyphs
over the 'doorways' of the caves.
A fascinating look into ages past -
even if we can't comprehend the meaning.
Yup, add that to your list as well!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Living with the inexplicable:

a 2 part story from Santa Fe:

I believe in leaving room for the mysterious;
for accepting what can't be easily explained -
except through the prism of faith;
for recognizing that our knowledge of how the world works
is incomplete and inadequate
at best.
Part One:
In Santa Fe,
there's a small chapel;
 it's lovely but not anything to stop you in your tracks;
at least not until you hear about what's inside.
The Chapel of our Lady of Light
was established by the Sisters of Loretto in 1852.

The sisters traveled from Kentucky, 
by way of St Louis and Independence, MO,
through the western territories in a hazardous trek 
which included being swept up in a cholera epidemic 
that killed their Mother Superior 
and left 2 other Sisters incapacitated.

They had been sent to establish a school and a convent 
and, upon arrival in Santa Fe,
carpenters from Mexico began building those basic structures.

In 1873, a prosperous French benefactor designed a chapel for the sisters,
based on memories of his beloved Sainte Chapelle in Paris.
It was to be strictly Gothic -
the first Gothic structure west of the Mississippi -
and large.
It was to be 31 feet by 80 feet with an inside height of 73 feet.
Despite financial concerns, 
work progressed under the patronage of St Joseph
to whom the sisters prayed every Wednesday.

It wasn't until it was nearly finished 
that the sisters realized a dreadful mistake had been made.

The chapel and choir loft had no connecting link between the two. 
There was no stairway and, because the loft was exceptionally high, 
there was no room for a stairway as built back then.

The Mother Superior called in many carpenters - 
who all failed miserably saying "It can't be done".

As the story goes,
The Sisters decided to pray a novena to St Joseph 
and, on the last day, a gray haired man came to the convent 
with a donkey and a tool box.
The only tools he had were a hammer, saw and a T-square.

He worked by himself throughout the Christmas season in 1879,
until he notified Mother Superior that it was done.
 When she went to pay him, he had vanished. 
She went to the local lumberyard to, at least, pay for the wood.
They knew nothing of it there.
The winding staircase makes two complete 360 degree turns.
There is no supporting pole up the center as most circular staircases have;
this means that it hangs with no visible means of support.
The entire weight is on the base.

Some architects who have examined it have said that, 
by all laws of gravity,
it should have crashed to the floor the minute anyone stepped on it.
Yet it was used daily for nearly 90 years.
The staircase was put together only with wooden pegs; 
there is not a single nail in it.
There are 33 steps in the staircase.

Many 'experts' have tried to identify the wood,
yet no one has ever been able to give a full report.
The treads have been consistently walked on since the staircase was built,
yet they only show signs of wear on the edges.
It has tentatively been identified as a previously unknown type of spruce
with the strength of hardwood
but the flexibility of spruce. 

Where the carpenter got the wood is a mystery.
The identity of the carpenter has also never been explained.
For the faithful, no explanation is needed.

Part Two:
There's an even more humble structure about 1 hour outside of Santa Fe;
made of thick adobe walls 
without a straight line or right angle to be found.
It's surrounded by taupe hills dotted with dark pinon trees
and the Acequia del Portero gurgles through its courtyard.
The hills in the native Tewa language are called Tsi Mayoh, which the Spanish,
in the late 16oo's, translated as "Chimayo".

For centuries, 
its been believed to have been a place of miracles and answered prayers,
with dirt from its ground collected by the faithful.
Lore is that either a priest at prayer or a farmer plowing a field,
saw a beam of light emanating from the ground.
A cross was found buried in the dirt.
Three times, 
the cross was moved to a church in another 'more prestigious' area
and, three times, the cross disappeared
only to be found at Chimayo again.
Understanding that the cross was meant to stay in Chimayo,
a chapel was built on the site in 1816.

Official church documents 
show that miracles were already being attributed to the church
before its completion 
and pilgrims were taking dirt
from the hole where the cross had been discovered,
believing it to be holy.
To many, 
El Santuario de Chimayo is one of the most sacred places in the US,
similar to Lourdes in France.
An annual pilgrimage on Good Friday which started in the late 1940's,
today draws an estimated 35,000 participants.
References to the Camino,
a pilgrimage I know VERY well abound.
There is a power at Chimayo that is palpable
And whether that's the result of the place itself
or the accumulated faith of the thousands who have journeyed here
seems unimportant.

To say that altar is a stunning piece of 'folk art' 
seems to do a disservice to both the altar 
and the term 'folk art'.
El Chimayo was, without a doubt,
one of the highlights of my trip - 
besides seeing Art Boy;
 I'm so glad I got to share it with him.
If you want to exercise your faith
and not just your body while visiting Santa Fe,
these two places might just be the ticket!
And, just to be on the safe side,
I brought home a souvenir.
 Some of us need all the extra spiritual mojo we can get!