Taos, New Mexico & The Enchanted Circle

So I think I interrupted the motel owner’s tryst with another man… it was right out of a movie. The lobby door was locked, I heard giggling and frolicking in a nearby room, and after ringing the doorbell and knocking a few times, a shuffling and a “hold on!” and finally the two of them show up, one guy smiling and the other (the owner) buttoning up his shirt and letting me in the building.

At least the room was cheap.

As, apparently, is the owner. 😛

But that seemed to be a perfect ending to this day. It has been quite… full. Since five o’clock this afternoon, I have walked through a ghost town, traveled to Colorado, put my feet in a lake (the first water I’ve been in for months), hiked up a hill while following the stations of the cross, eaten fantastic Mexican food in the oldest town in Colorado, and drove through the mountains while lightning illuminated the sky.

And that’s only a brief glimpse at some of this day.

It was a good day.

I woke up knowing that things needed to change. The woman I was staying with in Taos was a nice person, and I felt safe with her, but she was definitely a Debbie Downer. I have to give her slack, though, for her life seemed pretty horrific. From what I could piece together, her daughter was killed right in front of her, as was her dog, Ocito, who had been her companion for the last few years. She had traveled to South Africa, started her own charity, and had recently lost one of her best friends over there, to AIDS. So those are just a few examples of the weight she carried on her shoulders, so I can certainly understand that, but after being woken up by her in the middle of the night, as she cried, and I comforted, I realized that this might not be the ideal situation for me to get myself balanced.

Yesterday, I woke up, happy for a decent sleep (and my life) and headed over to the Taos Pueblo. Since Magellan told me to, I illegally drove through the Pueblo land, but luckily I didn’t get in trouble for it. Instead, I got to see how these people live, tucked away on their reservation, without water or electricity, and lots of dogs and horses walking around freely. Mostly, though, the drive was filled with empty desert land, beautiful in its simplicity and loneliness.

The Pueblo itself was gorgeous, even though I felt as though I were trespassing. A couple dozen people of the Pueblo have little shops, and they don’t mind the tourists, but the rest of the people who live there must be pissed! I know I would be. The entire purpose of living on the Pueblo is to maintain tradition and distance, and then suddenly you start charging people 10 dollars to witness this incredible life choice, and I don’t know… it would piss me off.

The Pueblo people really liked me, however. Especially… the men. Cheyenne, when I got home that night, said “yeah – they like the big, beautiful women.” I was initially going to be affronted by this comment, but then realized I was talking to a 5 foot one, 90-pound individual. She would probably be offended if I called her… squirt. So I let it go, and accepted the truth of it, because during my couple days in Taos, I think I had the potential for about five marriage proposals if I had just smiled one more time, or stayed a moment longer. It was nice, to feel so beautiful and mooned after, but it was… odd, since the culture I come from isn’t that way.

The winner for best ‘mooning after’ was definitely Joseph, however, He was a Pueblo man, who lost an arm a dozen years back while… carving a buffalo, or something. For some reason, it was as though I walked into his Pueblo and changed his life, because he lit up and hugged me for about… five minutes too long. After talking to me for a while, he also decided to bless me and my journey, so he lit a sage smudge stick and covered me in smoke and whispers. Wait, I made that sound too mysterious and sexy. It was definitely mysterious, and it was a beautiful Pueblo tradition he was allowing me to be a part of, but sexy it was not. Just to clarify. However, after this he asked me if he could take me to the mountain that night, and play his drum and sing to me the native music of the Pueblo people.

I mean, how could I turn that down.

But I did. I wasn’t about to put myself into another situation like that, however more innocent and authentic he seemed than Scott in Roswell. So I might have missed out on the most life-changing drum-filled spiritual experience of my life, but I had to let it pass.

I felt a bit of a stronger affinity to Cesar, who was a young man who worked in one of the stores in town. I didn’t notice him much at first, since I was enamored by all the beautiful jewelry, but eventually I needed to ask for his assistance, and we talked for quite some time while I was being wishy-washy about which pieces of jewelry I wanted.

In the end, I spent farrrrr more than I expected to, but not really since I had been waiting since Georgia to get to the Southwest and purchase the jewelry I wanted. I had wanted some inlaid jewelry (I expected it to be Zuni at the time, but the pieces I bought were Navajo, I believe), and I wanted some of the… green stuff. I think it’s just green turquoise, but I’m not completely sure. You think I would have learned the stones by now, but alas. I have not.

However, Cesar was extremely kind, and I didn’t think about him ‘that way’ until I was leaving and he said “see you tomorrow.” I turned around, and he said “Please?” I told him I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and I didn’t end up going back, even though I happened to drive by the shop today and was tempted. He was a good person, with intelligence and drive. He wasn’t what he initially presented himself as, and I liked that about him. He had definitely grown on me. But the last thing I want is to suddenly be stuck in Pueblo town.

Another fascinating individual I met was… well, Aspen something was his Native name, and I forget his real name… so I’m basically useless. But anyways, he was a 14-year-old boy from the Pueblo, who was selling the family wares that day with his grandma. They were such sweet people, and I bought a piece of inlaid work in the shape of a turtle, which his father, a master silversmith, had made. The boy, however, was fascinating, because at 14 he was one of the smartest, well-spoken individuals I have ever met, which is not just rare for the world, but extremely rare for this area of New Mexico. He painted cards, and was working on the Micaceous clay pottery, and was studying Law, and was basically a fascinating young man. I wanted to kidnap him and show him the world, and see what he had to say about it all.

Today was a tough one. I woke up, really unsure about what to do. All I knew was that I had to keep moving, and that the air had very quickly gotten stagnant while staying with Cheyenne, as interesting and kind as she was. So I packed up, and left Taos around noon.

The funny thing is, I left Taos again around five.
Haha.

The reason for this is that I drove the Enchanted Circle, an 80-mile loop around the Carson National Park area, which is wonderfully scenic, and drives through quaint little mountain resort towns. I especially liked Red River – it would be an ideal place to have a family vacation. There was even a ghost town, Elizabethtown, along the way, which used to be a thriving gold rush town, and is now essentially a shadow. Of course, I loved that… being surrounded by the history, with only remains acting as proof that anything was ever there. The woman working at the “museum” was really kind and gracious to me, and it was strange to be in the middle of nowhere, looking at old stuff. Really surreal experience, though, even if I’m not bothering to describe it very well. As I was driving out of the “town,” four horses were walking alongside my car.

That was fun.

And since the time between this morning and this evening, everything has changed. This must be the most life-filled day I’ve ever lived.

The most life-filled day I’ve ever lived. 🙂

Lafayette, LA

The highlight of today was Kung Fu Panda. We all went to the movies – by “we”, I mean me, my mom… and Panda. 🙂 She has a bit of a crush on Jack Black in panda form. 🙂

Actually, the panda bear reminded me SO much of my brother, Joel, that it was uncanny. It made me miss him so much – he is just the funniest person I know. He always makes me crack up, and I have to say, out of anyone, I definitely miss him. But the cool thing was that a little later he called me, and we got to catch up on the phone a little.

And yes, I truly did bring Panda to the movies with me. Why not, right? Life’s too short. And I’m getting used to looking like the ‘special’ child. At least I’m happy. 🙂

Haven’t written much lately. I don’t know, I just haven’t been able to put fingertips to keyboard much. Either not much to say, or too much to say and I’m not sure how I want to say it. I want to write poetry, and I want to start a book, and I enjoy writing in this blog. I guess I’m just not sure where to put my energy, so I’ve just been storing it up inside.

Been eating lots of yummy Cajun food, though. Crawfish, and boudin, and rice and gravy, and grits… yum yum. The last few days have been really fun, relaxing in Louisiana. I took a walk down the road the other night, and walked up on the side of a field of rice… it was so gorgeous out, having recently rained, and all the hues were deep and earthy. I got some nice shots. Today, Mom and I went into Lafayette to watch the movie, and also to research my new camera purchase. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m getting close. 🙂

We pulled into a restaurant, considering whether we wanted to go in and eat, when suddenly there was a gigantic crack. It had been raining for about an hour or two, but suddenly there was this gigantic sound and we about jumped on each other, in the case. I turned to look where the sound had come from, and smoke was rising into the air. Lightning had struck the light post directly across the street, shutting off the power in the Auto store there. It was pretty terrifying, and there were rumors of a tornado warning.

So Mom and I went into the restaurant and had some margaritas.


Last Evening in Ellijay

It’s two in the morning, and I’m far too tired for this (after two hours on the phone with Jason!), but I’m annoyed at myself that I haven’t blogged more lately. I’ve certainly had the time – sitting here, relaxing in the beautiful mountains. However, I have been lame and puttered away my evening hours rather than writing marvelous works of literary nonfiction.

The last few days have been delightful. Needless to say, my entire stay here in Ellijay has been heaven. Lisa and Doug are ridiculously wonderful people, and I couldn’t be happier here with them. I am completely at peace, and have spent more time talking about things that matter, and laughing, than I have in years.

This evening I looked in the mirror, and saw myself. It only lasted about 10 seconds or so, but there I was. I haven’t had that experience much in the past year – usually I see a stranger, and it saddens (often frightens) me, but today I glanced up, and there I was. And I smiled in a way I haven’t smiled in months, and I wanted to run outside and hug a tree.

Much like the way LISA hugged a tree yesterday at Amicalola Falls (okay fine I hugged the tree, too, I was just trying to implicate her). It was a gorgeous park, and we hiked up the 164 steps, and took lovely pictures, and all we needed was a picnic and a puppy and the world would have been perfect. 🙂

Afterwards, we headed over to Dahlonega, which was the location of the first gold rush here in Georgia. It was a quaint little place, and we went into the stores and looked at all the knickknacks, and Doug was our knave and carried our water bottles, and life was basically beautiful for the entire day. AND I bought myself a cowboy hat! And, yes, I am as happy about that as that exclamation point implies. 🙂

So tomorrow I’m hitting the road again – this time will be the hardest it’s been for me to leave a place. I could honestly stay here for the rest of my life, and be happy, but I know there is a whole entire world out there for me to see, and I’m looking forward to continuing this beautiful journey. I’ll have to make sure to keep in touch with Lisa, because her words remind me of all the peaceful, soulful things inside me, and our beliefs and dreams line up so well. I’ve never been more inspired to continue being myself, and to pursue all the things that my soul whispers for me to do.

Tomorrow is Tennessee. People have really rallied to my aid, and I have two people in Knoxville willing to take me in, and a writer in Nashville waiting for me on Thursday. I’m looking forward, now that I am well rested and rejuvenated, to meeting new people and feeling that feeling of randomness again. As much as I love security and comfort, it’s a great experience to push myself further, stretch myself into new realms. Much like the yin and the yang that I was talking with Lisa about the other day – that delicate balance between pleasure and pain. That point where one is stretching past the point of comfort, but at the same time feeling a beautiful balance and one-ness with the body, and the earth.

Oh goodness, I almost forgot to mention. This morning (which for me was the middle of the night) at 6 AM, the fire alarm went off, and I was shocked out of sleep. Simultaneously, strangely enough, a huge thunder and lightning storm was happening outside, so it seemed as thought my entire world was in chaos. I was completely confused, but after checking in with Lisa that everything was all right, I returned to my bedroom and proceeded to pull up all the shades and let the outside into the inside. There are six large windows in the room, so it felt like I was in the middle of the storm, and it was amazing to sit there with the lightning flashing and the thunder booming. I tried to pinpoint the place on my body where I felt the thunder (yes these are the types of things I’ve been doing) and I discovered that the thunder resonated deeply within my ribcage, spanning across my abdomen. It was powerful and wonderful, and completely thrilling. I stayed awake with Panda for as long as my eyes could manage, until I fell back asleep, the sound of deep rumbling in my ears.

‘Tis enough for now, I must rest. Tomorrow is a big day, and I need to be prepared for driving through the Smokey Mountain National Park and checking out the ridiculousness that is Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 🙂