sabbath in taos

This was our last full day in Taos. It’s always hard to leave this place. Knowing there are return trips – maybe even sooner than January 2024, makes it a bit easier.

Today began as all days here do. A fire, coffee, light breakfast. It is Sunday. No “formal” church was planned. We trusted we would find worship in some fashion.

Once again, the first stop was Coffee Apothecary.

While we enjoyed our artful cuppas, we made our next plan. We decided to drive south to the village, Ranchos de Taos. San Francisco de Asís Church, built in the 18th century, has long been sought out by artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe.

Ranchos Church, 1930 by Georgia O’Keeffe

We entered and prayed Noonday Prayers from the book, Prayers for all Seasons. It was a lovely place to sit and pray.

The bonus was stopping next door for lunch at The Plaza Grill, long a favorite.

I had read about the art exhibit, ‘Botanicals’ at Wright Contemporary. It was our next stop and while it was a small exhibit, it was interesting and enjoyable.

Sandra Fillippucci, Flowers for Ukraine
Madison Cawein, April Frost Sunrise

Our last activity was to walk down the road from the casa to visit the llamas. We visit every year, and have named them. Hilary, Stacey, Kamala and Dawn. Dawn arrived sometime in the last year.

We will depart early tomorrow morning to drive to Albuquerque for our flights home. A last fire..,

…until we return. Traveling mercies.

saturday in taos

On Saturday we awoke to a winter wonderland.

Lolling through the morning, the first goal was to get to Coffee Apothecary by noon.

The next goal was to get to A Salty Sweet Bakery to pick up the cinnamon rolls we had ordered.

Next up was a “pretty drive”. We learned of a back road that parallels U.S. 64, the primary road to and through Taos. It did not disappoint.

The bonus this day was to spend time with a dear, dear friend. We met at The Guadalajara Grill. Three hours later, after countless stories told, we reluctantly departed. Until the next time…

A glorious day filled with sights, tastes, and treasured friends.

the sound of ice under snow

Tonight our dinner plans were canceled because of a winter storm north of town, where our friends live. A disappointment made okay because we’ll meet for dinner tomorrow night instead.

On the way home late afternoon

We then decided to venture out for dinner with the snow coming down fast and furious. After all, we did not have a winter storm alert. I confess it gave us pause when the crunch of ice under the snow covered road, could be heard as we braked for a stop sign.

Yet, onward we went. It wasn’t that far away.

We arrived safely. All lit up, Orlando’s was most welcoming.

No takers for the fire pit, tho.

We were greeted, seated, and served immediately.

We polished off the delicious blue corn cheese enchiladas in record time. We both admitted to eating with some haste because of the the sight of snow falling outside the window.

The car required quick snow brushing. And we were off!

Safely home, we did what anyone would do after a dash-and-dine, build a warming fire. It was 20 degrees outside.

Today was lovely. Fire to begin the day, later coffee to kick-up the day. We were gifted time to visit with the owners of the Taos Coffee Apothecary whom we met five years ago when they first opened. We were among their first customers.

Then massages in the afternoon. Ahhhhh. Pure luxury.

Now settled in for the night’s rest, it is still snowing. Expected low temp of 10 degrees overnight.

“In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen
Snow on snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long, long ago.” Christina Rossetti

The words hold true today.

crunchy quiet & quiet awe

While falling snow is quiet, walking in snow has a unique crunching sound. I quite like it. Walking to the car this morning, each step had a lovely crunch. We were on our way to a favorite place – The Coffee Apothecary.

Driving the back way, there was no sense of the awe I was about to have. Rounding a curve, there it was. The mountains had been transformed and I fell silent. Well, not quite. I’m never actually silent. But my soul was very much quieted.

It was overwhelming to see what yesterday’s low-hanging clouds had created on the mountains.

I raised my cappuccino in thanksgiving for this gift.

Later we took a short drive north to experience the enormous stillness.

Climbing in bed just now, I have such gratitude for the gift of an extraordinary palette of white this day. Gratitude, too, for the morning crunch.

“A single pane of glass divides
Myself from falling snow outside.
The first of many falling snows
That these white winter skies will know.

And taking then my quiet leave
The snow alights on cap and sleeve,
While walking slowly up the hill
I realize then the world is still

All still except for falling flakes
Filling fast the tracks I make.
All still except for swelling smiles
Growing with the snow in piles.

All still within a quiet mind
All still as footprints left behind.” William McGehee

awaiting snow quiet

Yesterday my flight to Albuquerque was to arrive eight hours ahead of my friend’s flight. She still works; I don’t. So she was to work a full day. Plus, Delta Airlines had some months ago changed my flight departure to three hours earlier than what I had booked. I knew I would have time to wait.

View above Tuscaloosa, Alabama

So I made arrangements to meet a long-time, dear friend for lunch in Santa Fe. We would each travel about an hour to Santa Fe to meet. I was so looking forward to seeing her. It had been a number of years since we last enjoyed each other’s company.

It was not to be. Not long after I landed, she called. There was a blizzard in Santa Fe and it was not safe for me to drive up to the higher elevation of Santa Fe. She wasn’t sure that she could get back home. It was a huge disappointment for each of us.

Now what? I clearly had a lot of time on my hands. I decided to drive north toward Santa Fe just to see some snow. I got about fifteen miles up the interstate before I turned back.

Bernalillo, NM

With around seven hours to wait for my friend, I shopped a bit, had coffee at Starbucks. Twice. Freddy’s for custard – until it was too dark for me to be out and about. Instead, I stayed nearby the airport.

Then my friend’s plane was delayed. And delayed again. Then it tried to taxi away from the gate, but it ran out of power and was towed back to the gate. I was now in the airport cell phone lot awaiting updates; running my engine off and on to keep warm. I conversed all the while with my sister. She was good company, especially during the time it looked like the flight would be canceled. Eventually an airplane jumpstart battery was ferried to the gate. That did it!

Last ditch effort to jump-start the engine.

Two hours later she landed. My wait had lasted ten hours! It was worth it because now two best friends could begin to enjoy quiet snow time. A quick trip to the hotel, and an even quicker trip to sleep. A new day was soon to begin.

Hotel Andaluz

A snow-quiet day awaited.

high country quiet

I’m headed to a quiet place. Northern New Mexico. Taos, to be specific. Less than 6,000 people call this home, making it more town than city.

Nestled beneath the Sangre de Christo mountains, it is a quiet place. Winter makes it all the more so by a covering of snow. We are anticipating several snow-days. Shh…

There’s a scientific reason for the snow quiet. Snow is made of ice crystals, which have space between them. These open spaces absorb sound waves, creating that serene quiet that happens right after a snowstorm.

When the author and poet, May Sarton, visited New Mexico for the first time, she described the high plateau of northern New Mexico, as leopard land. “I saw it first in December, 1940, the high plateau among the red and purple mountains, the foothills covered with piñons, tawny earth dotted with these small dark pines so it looked like a leopard skin–the leopard land.” I’ve always liked thinking about this description.

Departing in the rain, by the time I arrive in Albuquerque, those rain drops will be replaced by snow drops

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhertoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
flitters like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a singled
answer has been found —
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one. First Snow,
Mary Oliver

Grab your hat and gloves, and come along. Traveling mercies.

solo return

Tuesday night I returned from my Seattle Christmas journey. This trip was not what I expected, but it was what I was given. Courage, grace, and love.

I arrived in Seattle to an icy and ice-covered city. People were walking in the middle of streets because the sidewalks were covered by ice.

The minute I walked into my son and his family’s home, I was wrapped in Christmas joy. In the meantime Evan was wrapping pipes, checking friends’ homes, and making sure the water system provided at least a low level of operation.

Not to mention keeping the home warm-ish.

Christmas Eve we live- streamed the church service from St. Mark’s Cathedral. Service programs were printed and we five attended church on the big screen, from the couch. We sang hymns and prayed prayers as we gathered in community.

Four days of festive meals, gifting, story-telling and laughter.

A field trip to visit the newly remodeled Adobe company headquarters for play and awe.

An unexpected twist in travel, we all rose to the occasion, embracing each other in the midst.

Special Sunshine Crepe to send me on my journey home

Hartsfield-Jackson airport was all decked out as I landed.

Two hours later, as we turned into the driveway…..a gift from my next door neighbor.

Traveling Mercies, indeed.

sleigh ride update

The winter storm came through Lakemont and caused enough concern for things at home, that a difficult conversation was in order and a hard choice to be made. In the end, only one of us took the sleigh to Seattle.

He stayed behind in order to take care of our home, and the homes of neighbors as well. Glory was retrieved from her lodging, and the two of them settled in for a deep freeze and night winds.

Warmth by the wood stove is key when hunkering down.

At the time my flight took off, Seattle’s airport had just re-opened. The storm had shut it down completely. That introduced uncertainty. Well, nothing I could do about the ability to land in five hours. I did wonder, though, where I might end up if Seattle closed again.

Best to sit back and enjoy my meal. And chat with a seat mate who unexpectedly had found an available seat for a flight home.

The scenes 34,000’ below were filled with wonder. My phone reported -56 degrees outside.

Wynne, Arkansas. Northwest of Memphis.
Veteran’s Memorial Lake, near Arkansas, Kansas
Salida, Colorado
South of Denver International Airport

The remarkable thing in the midst of country-wide air travel delays and cancellations, is that my flight departed and arrived, on time. Safely.

Scenes from the drive to my Seattle family’s home.

Home away from home.

Christmas Eve Blessings.

riding on santa’s sleigh

I’m catching a ride on the sleigh tomorrow, as Santa heads to the North Pole for his big ride. I’ll drop off in Seattle for my Christmas celebration.

Annual Christmas light show, Tiger, GA

Do you remember believing? I surely do, especially after my mom read me the “Dear Virginia” letter. I had wavered a bit, but that letter brought me back. I was certain it had been written just to me.

I’ve since been through the times my own children and grandchildren had their time of believing. Magical and mystical times. Believing in someone unseen – if you dismiss department store and Salvation Army individuals wearing red hats and jingling bells.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Believing in someone you can’t actually see.

We are headed to Seattle to spend Christmas with our Seattle son and his precious family. The massive storm across the country doesn’t make things easy or convenient. So many will have their plans disrupted. I selfishly hope I’m not among them.

Glory has already traveled to her Christmas lodging at the vet’s cat lodge.

In anticipation of iced-over roads up here in the mountains, chains are on the tires, awaiting a 5:00am departure to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Come along. Traveling mercies.

one hour

While I’ve been in Arizona, I’ve gotten up each morning to see the sunrise. Before I go to bed I check to see what time the sun will rise the next morning. I set an alarm so as not to miss. I’m blown away by the sun rises and sun sets here in Arizona.

Today I roused my reluctant sister to “rise and shine”, because the sun surely intended to do so.

We drove off at 6:45am, just enough time to get to our viewing destination and watch for the beauty to come.

For the next half-hour I stood outside the car and watched with awe and glee.

Good morning God,
This is your day,
I am your child
Please show me your way.

Next stop – Starbucks.

Pajama day at Starbucks

Waiting for my order, I struck up a conversation with a young woman who was wearing an E R jacket, and scrubs with her name followed by RN, BSN. Since I have a granddaughter who is also an E R nurse with those same initials, I struck up a conversation with her. She told me to honor my granddaughter as the work she does is hard, tough. I assured her I do!

We drifted apart as we waited for our orders. I grabbed a gift card and loaded it. I walked over to her and told her how I manage Starbucks cards for my four grandkids, especially “my” nurse. I handed the just-loaded card to her.

With smiles and hugs, we gathered our drinks and went on our way.

7:45. ONE hour. Awe and joy.

“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
~Immanuel Kant,