Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Mexico 4

Oh, my, what a day. We began at the little village of Chimayo with its lovely little chapel which dates back to the early 1800s. Many legends surround this church and many healings have been associated with the soil where a crucifix was found. The church is traditional style with vigas in the ceiling and five elaborate reredos, two on each side of the nave and one behind the altar. These are painted in folk santero style. In a tiny room off the nave is a hole where one can dig some of the sacred soil, said to promote healing. In another room are crutches, pictures and gifts from those who have been healed. There is also a niche with a statue of the Santo Nino de Atocha. It is said that at night, the Holy Child would leave his throne, visiting the sick and the unjustly imprisoned. He feeds them bread made by "Mama Mary" and water with the promise to set the captives free. He travels so much that he wears out his shoes. Many people leave shoes by the statue.
We visited two weaving shops -- Ortega's and Irvin and Lisa Trujillo. Beautiful, beautiful weaving -- Ortega's more of a large-scale operation, the Trujillos concentrating on one-of-a-kind artwork.
I have had several wonderful experiences with Native Americans this week -- today at the Pojoaque Pueblo. Lunch in their restaurant was fantastic and the Cultural Center was outstanding. Their story is told through a series of rooms depicting periods in their development corresponding to the seasons. I'm so sorry I couldn't take pictures there -- the three-dimensional exhibits were exceptional. Artist Roxanne Swentzell created all the figures used in the exhibits.
Next we went next door to her gallery. I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet her in person. Her art is compelling and with such a sense of humor! I did get pictures there and will put them up when I get home.
After tonight's dinner at Red Sage, I'll pack and in the morning hit the trail back to Oklahoma. This has been a long but wonderful week with so many photos, memories and things to write about. I thought I knew a lot about New Mexico but I know now that I have only scratched the surface. I have seen so many places that I want to come back to -- and spend more time.

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