Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reflections on a Trip to New Mexico

I've lived in a few Western states: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Washington. Those states have bullet holes in the roadsigns as well. But nowhere do they blow holes in their roadsigns with more enthusiasm than they do in New Mexico. In fact as you are driving around, it tends to give you the 'willies' when you think it would be possible for a bullet to come through your windshield. I imagine the wood behind the sign (above) stops the bullet, but the simple metal speed limit signs don't even slow them down.
This door opens into the courtyard of the Palace of the Governor's in downtown Santa Fe and is easily eight feet tall. It must have been difficult to open because they made a little four foot high door for easier access for a human or two. Open the doors all the way and you could bring in a horse drawn wagon loaded with casks of wine or a load of hay. The beautiful shade of blue reminds me of old doors I've seen in Mirepoix.

They turn out all the lights on Canyon Drive on Christmas Eve and it is impossibly crowded with people making it hard to navigate, especially with a black dog that becomes almost invisible. But Fergus got some real love and affection when they finally did see him. One street over, the crowds diminish and you can actually see the traditional luminarios or farrilitos. For those who have never seen this wonderful form of Christmas lights, they are ordinary brown paper bags filled with a little sand and a candle. They line the top of walls, sidewalks and any other places you can imagine. They also make another similar arrangement, like a small kite or hot air balloon, and with the heat of a single candle rise into the night sky until they catch fire and send sparks and ashes cascading towards the ground. I've often wondered how many house fires and forest fires these start, but perhaps none, because they've been doing it for years.

This is the plaza in downtown Santa Fe. In the center is an obelisk commemorating soldiers who fought or died in the early days of Anglo New Mexico. (Again, you can see the luminarios set up for the evening.)

This is on one side of the obelisk, and on another side is a commemoration to the solders who fought in the Civil War at Glorieta Pass. As you can see, someone at some point has taken umbrage, rightly so, and taken it in their own hands to remove a reference to "savage" Indians. (I should clarify that I think it is right to be offended by the term 'savage' and possibly 'Indians', but I think it is incorrect to vandalize the monument.) I am also wondering, was the first line also changed at some point? And if so, what did it say?

This plaque sits nearby, and I don't know when it was placed......before or after the vandalism of the obelisk. Interestingly, in Colorado at the present time, there is an ongoing debate whether to rename a mountain from Kit Carson Peak to another more culturally sensitive name. Kit Carson, a famous frontier figure and Santa Fe resident was married to a Ute woman, as I recall, but also killed a large number of Native Americans and some don't want to honor him with the name of a mountain. The debate goes on. Should we rename Cortez, Colorado or Columbus, Ohio and Montana so as not to honor these historical figures for their murderous exploits? How about Squaw Flat Campground; the Montrose High Indians? For right now, I'll stay neutral.

On Christmas Day this lady was having fun giving out free hugs to anyone who wanted one. I'll leave you with a few videos of musicians in the plaza sending out Christmas Cheer. Happy Holidays, wherever you are.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Only been to Santa Fe twice. Spring break '66 on our way to Mexico and two years ago helping drive TJ back to AZ. We diverted from I-40 up to Santa Fe for lunch in the middle of a snow storm. I was impressed by the $2,000 cowboy hats in a shop just of the square.