Sunday, February 19, 2012

foregleams & dishevelments

One early morning last spring, I drove along winding roads and canyons, up to an elevation of 10,000 feet and down to 7,200 to the town (village) of Mora.  It is mentioned in Willa Cather's 1927 novel, Death Comes to the Archbishop. It's other claim to fame is the Mora Valley Wool spinning mill and adjacent yarn outlet and sometime coffee shop.  I'd gone there to interview the director for a paper I was writing (if interested, you can read my blogs from around mid April 2011). As a fiber fanatic and knitter this was just up my alley (or rather, up through the mountains). I had a lovely day filled with information, fiber, photos, conversation. So why am I thinking about this now?
illusions abound
The weather has been relatively mild so far this winter. Gigantum woodpiles seem to hardly have diminished. Yesterday morning felt prematurely springlike and we were both restless and needed to get out. I'd been hearing robins in the bare trees for the last couple of days, too, adding to the general sense of delicious change that seems to be coming sooner than later. We drove down toward Santa Fe with no particular agenda, ran a couple of errands, stopped at one of the four or so casinos between here and there (not a good idea) and got home late. The landscape along the way didn't match our rather anticipatory expectations. We'd conveniently forgotten that now is the quietest and flattest time of year landscape-wise. All of nature seems to be deep in hibernation (except in the Ski Valley where things natural and otherwise are buzzing). It makes one appreciate why ancient peoples (non-skiers) felt they had to make sacrifices and myths to assure spring's return. The Rio Grande moves inexorably though, the water an incredible shade of deep jade green.

jelly reflections
The annual anthology I edit is called Chokecherries. It was named by a young women who worked with the SOMOS organization. She'd been picking the berries and learning to make jam from a local Hispanic woman who called them capulin. Like me, Beth was originally from New York and had never heard the word, but it was on her mind that day when we all met to discuss a publication. We liked the sound of the word and it became the official name. That was 19 years ago. These wild berries still grow abundantly in the forests here (as the anthology still survives) and quite popular with locals and bears.
         In honor of connection, I had to photograph this sign on the road. Grandma Joan, who lives in Mora, comes to the Farmers Market in Taos every summer weekend to sell her homemade jelly. I look forward to it when the outdoor market resumes in May or June.
camera eye
But the original mood hasn't dissipated and rather than expect anything to change around here anytime soon, I'll share another of the photos from northern Baja in Mexico. Susan Sontag wrote in On Photography, that photographs are illusion and not reality (and had plenty more to say about it in general). True, of course, since the camera's eye stops time while time itself marches on. But pictures sure come in handy to recall memories that tend to fade. To recall, because something in a photo reminds me, the lilies that bloomed near the crashing sea. I'd forgotten about them until I saw the photo again. My bags are mentally packed. Now all I have to do is manifest the journey west.  I hear that holographic photography and more is coming to the masses one day. Maybe then we can step back into our memories and experience them as they were actually lived.