Monday, September 24, 2018


After a brief sweep through Arizona and Monument Valley, we came to New Mexico, AKA The Land of Enchantment. Its magic took hold as we passed through Navajo and Zuñi territory. The landscape wowed us as usual. In Farmington an ADULT VIDEO store was right after a JESUS WATCHING YOU billboard. When we arrived in Truchas, a rooster crowed, even though it was well after noon.

New Mexico’s usual post-apocalyptic ambience was stronger this year. There have been many apocalyptic events, the coming of the Spaniards, the coming of the Anglos, the coming of opiods and meth. This time, it looked like current political developments had taken their toll.

In Taos (short for La Cuidad de Don Fernando de Taos), the Sun God Lodge was closed “4 REPAIRS.”

To make matters worse, the Wired? Coffee-Cyber-Cafe was out of business, signs taken down, zen garden with its statuary, fountains, and koi ponds gutted, murals left to fade in the sun. No more of their cafe mochas.

Luckily, they had cafe mochas at Taos Java, a similar, but more crowded place with a drive-thru window. Their artisan-made apple empanada wasn’t bad. The atmosphere wasn’t quite so post-modern hippy-dippy. Folks were doing wi-fi connected business meetings rather than playing chess and contemplating the Great Whateverthehell.

At a gas station I saw a group of bikers who may have been unintentionally androgynous. Or maybe it was intentional . . .

Flyers for yoga classes and events that combined music with sending out good vibes to improve the human condition by spiritual means were still posted everywhere, but there was also Zombie Tactical Guns & Ammo.

Some changes have been going on.

And some folks were driving like they got their Labor Day weekend drinking started early and planned on being in jail or the hospital by sundown.

After a rainy night, and a cool morning, with John McCain’s funeral on the TV, we decided to give Santa Fe a try.

On the way, I saw that Truchas, which is quivering somewhere between ghost town and an art colony, is full of empty structures sporting Sotheby’s for sale signs. Some of the farms are still in business, but it looks like our getaway place may be feeling what ever’s in the air. Guess you can’t have paradise without trouble.

Along El Camino Real, encroaching storms looked like dark, frozen tidal waves.

I found some interesting books--most notably Christy G. Turner & Jacqueline A. Turner’s Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American Southwest--but Emily and her mother didn’t find their usual thrift store treasures. Emily speculated on the political situation influencing the economy.

Later, while driving back to Truchas after dinner in Chimayó, we saw a spectacular double rainbow in a slate-gray sky. Then a fantastic storm erupted. Yeah, enchantment. The magic don’t need no stinking socioeconomic prerequisites.

Emily and I did another run to Taos the next day. Found a place that showed promise: The Coffee Spot. No cafe mochas, but the Mexican lattes are amazing. So are the breakfast burritos. It has a funky, arty, decor and a garden with outdoor tables where you can get inspired.

While Em did some more clothes shopping, I wandered around and took some pictures of post-apocalyptic scenes, Jackson Pollock shots, Andy Warhol shots . . . Here snapshots turn out as weird art.

Coyotes went berserk our last night in Truchas.

We got news of the fiasco at the Zozobra ritual in Santa Fe. A “security miscommunication” caused the giant effigy to be set fire early, while a lot paying customers were locked out. Dissatisfaction was in the air.

We made our way home under miles of low, scattered storm clouds and showers, through reservation lands where the tourist mythology camouflages Aztlán under the Great Hollywood Cowboy and Indian Myth. Though lately, UFOs and dinosaurs are added to the mix.

I saw a taco-shaped cloud, and sacred datura growing south of Payson/Cottonwood next to the I-17.

Then we got stuck in a traffic jam in the rain.

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