Friday, March 14, 2008

Santa Fe and Taos--Day 1

Dear Ones—
Well, I am sitting in a brick-red suede couch in the main sitting room of the Mable Dodge Luhan House, typing away. I can only access the internet from this area because the old adobe walls are so thick, the signal cannot travel far. The walls are hung with old pictures; I peer into them, trying to sight familiar faces: O’Keeffe, Lawrence, Jung etc. Dennis Hopper owned the house for a while in the 70’s, so there are also Easy Rider emanations from Dylan and the like.

AH, that’s better—I’ve moved into the dining room—there really was no place comfortable to type. The atmosphere is very homey and relaxed. When I asked for ice –as always—they took me back into the kitchen and showed me the ice-maker tucked into a corner. I can’t wait to get in there tomorrow when the light is better to take pictures—it’s gorgeous; very old and much as it used to be. The whole place is adobe, covered with stucco—with the diagonal sticks across the ceiling—in here they are black and red and white—an interesting mix of pueblo and Italian. All the doors are tiny—Jerry would constantly be stooping.

My trip has been going very nicely so far. I got to Albuquerque in good time and picked up my car. Not only do they have small SUV’s for rent, they even let you pick the one you want—so I have a nice little forest green KIA which amuses me by matching most of what I am wearing.
It took just about an hour to drive north to Santa Fe, watching the sunset stain the clouds behind me and getting used again to the immense reach of the horizon; space seems so much bigger here, even though there are mountains at the edge of things. The weather is pretty nice, clouds and sun, but terrific winds. It has still been snowing in the mountains, and as I wound my way up the “high road” to Taos, I passed many pine forests, still blanketed with white under the shadows of the trees. Apparently there is some chance I may get my wish for a snowy Sunday. I just really want to be able to take pictures of all this curved adobe outlined in snow.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I spent last night in Santa Fe at my B&B, the Adobe Abode. Was pleased that I had no problem navigating straight to it, except that when parts of Guadalupe were shut down for re-surfacing I had to go around via various back streets. They checked me in to a different room at the Adobe Inn—“Cabin in the Woods” is painted red and festooned with antlers and plaid, but quite comfortable. They do have nice hard beds!!

Slept very soundly, got up, repacked, had leisurely breakfast with a mom taking her daughter to interviews to go to acupuncture school. Then went over to Museum and the print gallery next door and had a brief look round. Got in touch via e-mail with Chris Reed, who seems pleased I am in town. We’ll get together for lunch next week. He’s been a Fellow at the O’Keeffe Institute all year; I think I may have told him about the fellowships back in 2004. Anyway, I am eager to hear how his research is going. His book Bloomsbury Room was fabulous and won several important prizes in the art history world. He is speaking Wednesday at the Foundation.

Haven’t gotten a lot done today. Have been listening while driving to the new teen vampire book that’s supposedly sweeping the high schools, Twilight; Mark Charney loaned it to me. I must say that it is captivating—and set on the Olympic Peninsula, which is fun as I can visualize the places. I have lots of good things with me to read, but spent much of the afternoon kind of half-napping.

The altitude does get to me for the first day or two. You feel rather out of breath, definitely spacey; I keep checking my pulse to see if my heart is racing—though so far it really isn’t. I got kind of woozy driving all those curvy roads coming up here—when I go back to Santa Fe, I think I will take the straight shot highway instead. So I dozed for a while, checking out the little book on flowers in the work of O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol I had bought at the museum. I got up about 5:00 PM and went around taking pictures of the house and outbuildings. It really is a photographer’s dream.. It really is a photographer’s dream. There are all kinds of lovely little vignettes – Sue, you’d love the fact that the main patio roof is studded with chickens.

When I came in about 2:30 downtown was just a zoo—tiny narrow, twisty streets packed bumper to bumper with people and cars (clearly it is a local badge of authenticity to have your car spattered in mud up to the door handles). I waited until after 6:00 when the shops were all closed to take a little walking tour. It’s pretty tiny but seems to have almost as many stores and galleries packed in as Santa Fe.

So now I am going to go back to my room and build a little fire (they give you a starter kit and directions to the wood pile), and take a luxurious hot bath and read myself to sleep. No TV’s or phoneshere, but fortunately I have lots of books and music on my computer, so it keeps me company.

No comments: