A Dispatch from Taos

by - October 22, 2011

It's a drop past 11AM here in Taos Pueblo. The temperature has languidly paced it's way into the 50s. A cool breeze makes its way beneath the carport here at my Grandmother's house.

It's mid-October, but wood stoves burn in the distance, and the smells of piñon waft through the air as it has done for centuries in this ancient, mysterious place.

There's a shed across the dirt driveway. It is filled to the top of its 9-ft tall ceiling with enough wood to last two winters. I suppose the excess is important during the cold winter to come. But I've never seen the wood shed at less than capacity during any season.

Maybe that's the point. The cares and concerns here are about history and routine. Irrigating. Agriculture. Fishing. Hunting. Home repair. Tradition. Custom.

In most respects, Taos is a full-throttled embrace of the historical. This disposition allows for language and tradition to coexist alongside the western/anglicized City of Taos less than a mile away.

Naturally, this makes a balance with the unhistorical nearly impossible, as Nietzsche would say. Living in the moment, living for self, and the now are supreme challenges for Taos Pueblo and its denizens. Western arts, culture, and technology (aside from the ubiquitous Chevy trucks) are scarce on the reservation.

Yet, as the leaves rustle, marking the passage of time, it's a comfort to know that places like Taos still exist. Off the grid. A shrine to history.

A place where time stands still.

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