Sunday, I drove up to Taos passing through the Santa Clara pueblo on the way. I recycled the trash on the side of the Rio Grande river, and finally sat quietly in the reeds listening to the gurgle and watching for birds.
I glanced down and noted the dried leaves on a small shrub. They had scent, and so I tasted them – definite spearmint potential, if not the herb itself. Good tea.
The birds resisted coming – perhaps trained to spot humans that might hunt them, so I scour the riverside rocks for exotic-looking rocks. Several appeared – a very red one, a very glittery one, a speckled one, an amalgam and another rock with a white line right down the middle. What makes the speckling? Why the white line?
The quietness and aloneness was stunning – an absolute absence of people or animals. I finally found some busy ants, remembering the indian story of the ant people, and then a few geese that flew by.
As I left, I noted the graffiti on the bridge – a star of David next to Santa Clara pueblo. What did it mean?
I drove up to Taos, stopping first at St. Francis of Assis church in Ranchos de Taos so that Scottie could get his blessing,
then later at the Taos visitor center to watch a fascinating movie about the establishment of the art colony there.
There had been a painting of a special rock along an old road where an artist’s wagon had broken down. Years later, after much searching, they had found the rock. The wagon road was no longer there. The Taos colony had evolved its own unique style with vivid and imaginative use of color. In the movie, they had talked about the relationship between the pueblo and the artists.
There was even a point in the movie where one sees a dog climbing a ladder to the pueblo.
Finally, I left to visit the river by the pueblo. (The pueblo itself is the oldest pueblo in New Mexico. Its inhabitants live without airconditioning, heat, electricity, or modern convenience. It was closed for “quiet time” – winter break).
I took pictures of several long-tailed birds, and a track that I found. I guess it could be a very big dog track.
and tasted a shrub that was decidedly flavorless with a woody texture.
On the Taos square, I encountered the statue of Padre Martinez – with an opportunity to practice my spanish.
“Father Martinez was born in Abiquiu, New Mexico on the 17th of January of 1793. His parents were Don Severino Martinez and Maria del Carmen Santisevan (from the house of Martinez). The life of the clergyman Don Antonio Jose Martinez spanned the Spanish state (1793-1820), the Mexican state (1821-46) and the U.S. state in the history of New Mexico during the turbulent 19th century. During each of these periods, Father Martinez made permanent contributions to the education, religion, and politics of these times. As a consequence he was, without reservation, one of the most influential Hispanics in the history of New Mexico in the 19th century.
As educator and editor, Father Martinez established the first educational college and primary schools in Taos in 1826, and in 1833 also established a Latin preparatory college for prospective seminarians, natives of New Mexico. He expanded his curriculum to also include courses in civil law, establishing the first law school in New Mexico. In 1835, Father Martinez xxxx the first printing press in New Mexico which published grammar books, of math and law for his colleges. It also published circulars about questions of popular discourse and resumed publication of the regional periodical “The Cradle of Freedom”.
The career of Father Martinez as a political leader was also impressive. Under the Mexican governor, he was elected to the Departmental Assembly of New Mexico and served in this assembly throughout the years 1830-31, 1836-37 and 1845-46. In December of 1847, his name garnished the formal petition that sought the annexation of New Mexico to the United States, and in 1848 he presided over the convention to organize and establish New Mexico as a United States territory. He also presided over the Constitutional Convention of New Mexico in 1850, serving as President of the Old Chamber of the Legislative Assembly in 1851 and eventually served as a member of the Lower Old Chambers under the Legislature.
The history of Father Martinez as religious leader initiated four years after the death of his wife in 1813, when Antonio Jose Martin and Santistevan lived at Durango, Mexico, where he studied at the Tridentino Seminary xxxx there. Returning to New Mexico, he was established as one of the unique natives in the Catholic clergy, serving as the bishop of Taos from 1826-1858.
At his death on July 27, 1867, the Territorial Legislative Council of New Mexico released a proclamation recognizing Father Martinez as “The Founder of his Country”. This tribute in today’s day is repeated as a commemorative monument in this statue of natural xxx of the Father, erected in the center of the Taos plaza, New Mexico, dedicated on July 16th, 2006.
The sculptor Huberto Maestas, of San Luis, Colorado, created this monument in bronze with the sponsorship of the State Legislature of New Mexico in 2002, a project of Bill 6, introduced by the Senator Carlos R. Cisneros (District of Taos), administered by New Mexico arts, and with the sponsorship of the city of Taos, his xxxxx, the council and administrator of this city of Taos.
For more information: http://www.padremartinez.org
Marker courtesy of Rivera-Hanion Funeral home.”