Saturday, September 24, 2016


Autumn always brings up past lifetimes. I’m not referring to reincarnation, although I suspect that this one who wears a certain name over the decades is an augmented identity. Each segment of our journey is a mini-incarnation. If it involves a long trip, this becomes more obvious. I look at old photos of the beings with my name and personal history and notice that they now seem like strangers. Only the core continues on until something surprising comes up and flings me back to a previous chapter of the story. However, I don’t believe it’s truly an accident when I inadvertently open the life book to an almost forgotten page.

I recently came across some old pictures of PQ’s parents, Joe J. and Frances Suazo in the courtyard of the Adobe Inn one winter afternoon a long time ago. It was probably in 1993 or ’94. It carried me to those early months of my life in Taos. Between then and now utterly vanished. I could feel the cold still air and dampness of that winter day and all of my emotions as a virtual Taosena. I was becoming familiar with the daily trip to the post office, the arrangement of goods on every isle of Smith’s grocery store, meeting familiar faces at CafĂ© Tazza the only coffee shop in town, the muddy lane to our little casita on Upper Ranchitos, the old video store and the continuous uncertainty of where next month’s rent would come from. Supposedly our olfactory senses hold the longest most vivid memory. Maybe it goes back lifetimes. Back then the nights were very dark and in the black night, the smell of wood smoke took the modern
The last full moon.
world away.  

Added to the overall angst was the dreaded recognition that my emerging self was not compatible with the trajectory of the person who came to Taos with me. We began like two children excitingly exploring a new playground, and we hungrily devoured the local landscapes and cultures. Exploring was always something we did well together, but beyond the initial adventure, our partnership stumbled and fell.

Diane Dougherty’s (now Osburnsen) Adobe Inn was the locus of our/my social life. The future was as open and mysterious as the dark skyline of the great Pacific at sundown. I had no idea of the future, only that it was beyond time and sight. I was in a new, entirely different environment that seemed improbably familiar. I was surprised to be home after a life long wait. There were artists, famous, semi-famous and struggling, writers, world travelers, alternative healers, new agers, traditional pueblo people, local business owners, old timers from the days of Mabel and Tony Lujan, members of old Spanish families, and literally “doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs”. Throw in real estate people and those left over from the hippy days. These last two aren’t as different as you might think. Hippies frequently metamorphosed backwards into realtors and gallery owners like butterflies into caterpillars.

As I explore the heightened reality of that experience, it dawns on me that Taos felt familiar because I experienced it with a self that had previously lived underground like a winter grasshopper waiting for spring. That was the true reason I moved to Taos and until that photo threw me into the freshness of discovery I was unable to paint it in concepts and words. Alas, I nearly forgot it.

Looking back, I see nature at work. For my entire previous life, I tried to fit the circumstances and environment. I found livable environments here and there but something important was always out of sync. I was hungry for a particular light. I would not have been able to name what it was and whenever I came to a near match, I flew as close as possible to its dim light. I was habituated to making do and was oblivious to it. If you’ve never worn a comfortable shoe, you don’t expect to find one but, nature inside as well as outside always knows the difference.

Yesterday on the way to Arroyo Seco, there was a special light on Taos Mountain revealing a rock formation that in twenty-four years I’ve never before noticed. It was slightly to the east of center and perhaps two thirds down, a straight vertical escarpment of sharp jagged stone that clearly stood out from its wooded surroundings as though placed there during the night. Am I ready to see what I assume to be familiar with different eyes?


  1. Thought provoking as usual. I liked the line: "Hippies frequently metamorphosed backwards into realtors and gallery owners like butterflies into caterpillars." How true.

  2. This really hit home with me. I felt the same way about New Mexico the first time that I flew over the Sandias into Albuquerque. I moved away 16 years ago, yet New Mexico continually calls me home. I left hoping to "find myself" yet I now realize that the person that I was then is who I am meant to be. I know that I will return when the time is right.