Sunday, December 1, 2013

MAKING MEMORIES

We went out for Thanksgiving. The place we chose used to have a great buffet on Thanksgiving, as well as Mother’s Day and Easter. Lost forever, I’m afraid. PQ wanted to give me a break from cooking but as soon as we entered the front door, and looked toward the dining room, we saw immediately that there was no buffet. They have a new chef but it isn’t a good thing. The vacant atmosphere and the slightly apologetic excessively polite welcome from the staff did not bode well. Nevertheless, we decided to stay. Why? It’s hard to say, but I’m not sorry. The food was bland, and obviously made from frozen ingredients. It was as if we made an unspoken decision to make a gesture to improve their day. We won’t be back but it was OK. For some reason we left feeling thankful.

Today (Saturday) we had brunch at Doc Martin’s and that initiated a tad more holiday spirit. However, even that was not all it used to be. The eggs and potatoes were nice, but whatever became of that warm basket of breads such as scones, biscuits and muffins that used to come with breakfast. Today, it was just one cold muffin, acceptable but not supportive of the special ambiance of the comfortably venerable Taos Inn.

PQ Across the Table at Doc Martin's
Restaurants are something with which Taos has always excelled. This funky little village of mud has a sophisticated pallet. It is dangerous for a restaurant to ignore this reality. Food, art and music are serious pursuits here. Despite its casual rough-cut individualism, Taos demands cosmopolitan sophistication in the arts, and this includes food.

Now we wait for Monday and normality to make a brief comeback after Black Friday. Holidays mean less and less the more of them I live through. I take just as much as I want of the holiday spirit and no longer let it enslave me. PQ wants to open the Pueblo house for Christmas Eve, and that’s all we plan to do. We will be at the Pueblo for the bonfires and procession from the Church and will welcome friends into PQ’s ancestral home. Christmas Eve at the old Pueblo House has too much sentiment and tradition to ignore. This was always the time of year that PQ had to be home no matter where he lived the rest of the year.

Much of life has to do with making memories. Yes, it’s great to live in the moment, but unless you have a serious brain injury that destroys your memory, each moment will influence succeeding moments. PQ teases me about my fascination with the past. Certain times past both personal and historic are sacred to me. I’ve been reflecting on what this is about. For me, the past is a trail lined with thorns and jewels. There are so many important pieces of life forgotten or abandoned along the way. Those are often missing parts needed to take the present into a better future.

Overall, our culture has no respect for the past. Sometimes I go far back. Time traveling before I fall asleep at night or with coffee in the morning, I collect the pieces of life as if they were bricks for building a home for the soul. This morning, I unexpectedly remembered my life after I dropped out of school. The Denver Public Library was both a temple and a mystery school. I would browse through rows until a magic door was revealed. Later I learned the Dewey Decimal system, but still relied most on the magic of intuition.

The Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History were other temples where I worshiped the spirits that dwelled among the displays. Then there was the Colorado Historic Museum, the old one so much better than its modern replacement. I’m sure the new one is technically more accurate but there was something about climbing the stairs and entering through Corinthian columns into another world that can’t be measured. I preferred to visit all these places alone. Company was a distraction and prevented the magic from happening. These revered sacred places filled in the gaps of my personal puzzle.
Spider Road on the Rez before the mud comes.

My people didn’t have a craving for tribal history. No one thought much about it. Oh, there were brief synopses recited now and then but no sense of ancestral connection to a place. My maternal grandparents moved over a hundred times and my dad’s folks probably scored over a dozen moves. Perhaps in compensation, history and better yet, pre-history fascinates me. Now I’m married to a man whose people have lived in one place over a thousand years.

The past is just one end of a wide-angle shot of history. How wide can one make the angle? I feel that there is no end, just two sides that meet eventually in a circle. Yet, it’s the mystery of what went before to bring us to this place that fascinates. And, maybe some very good clues to dealing with the future are waiting for discovery in the attic of time.