The Thrill of the New

With each trip to New Mexico, I’ve gone back to certain spots again and again. But I’ve also gone to new spots each time, whether by design or accident. Today it was the accidental that made me once again marvel at all the wonders available in such a relatively small area.

At the start

This morning, scanning the rack of promotional materials set out in my hotel’s lobby, I saw a pamphlet for a labyrinth. I’ve always been attracted to them, to the spiritual calm they’re meant to promote (though I always find it odd that that something with mythological connections to a monstrous beast now has such a peaceful aura).  This one was just a few miles down the road, owned by a B & B but free and open to anyone.

Confronting one's Shadow on the path...

I decided to head down before starting to work for the day, hoping the relaxed setting would put me in a creative mood. The instructions at the start of the labyrinth said to think of things you wanted to be free of; hmm, lots of choices there. Thoughts, emotions, desires, attachments; take your pick. Then, after reaching the center, you’re supposed to think about the things you want to bring with you out of the labyrinth and back into your daily life.  Lots of choices there too.

I set out slowly, trying to combine a Zen walking meditation with the labyrinth’s intent. Head down, eyes focused about six feet ahead, one foot after the other. The slow turns and sharper cutbacks make it seem like you’re not quite reaching your goal. You have to have faith that the path will take you to the center. With this labyrinth, when you reach that spot, a stone ledge hangs over a pool of water with a bubbling spring. Then, you head back to your starting point – hopefully having gained something of import.

The spot was quiet this morning, except for the rumbling traffic not far from the B & B. When I completed the circuit, I felt calm, though I‘m not sure if I felt changed. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe it‘s like my meditation practice; small cumulative effects, nothing so stark – or as stark as I might want.

Back at the hotel, I had a productive writing session, then ate a great raw lunch at a tiny spot just off the plaza. It‘s run by a mother and son. Less than a year old, I wonder if it will survive. As mom told me, the raw foodists around Taos cook their own food, and most everybody else in these parts is not interested in trying something new. Me, I savored the raw pizza, smothered with cashew “cheese” sauce, a nut-carrot-curry burger crumble, and lots of veggies. The stuffed ‘shrooms on top (with a cilantro pesto) were just a bonus.

Outside the Earthship

Welcome to Earthship Central

The next new experience was my trip over the Rio Grande Gorge and to the Earthship. My new writer friend Jamie had suggested the “ships,” homes built in the most sustainable way possible. I won’t go into details; check out the website it you’re curious. But to me, the drive there, the setting, was even more amazing than the building techniques. This area never ceases to amaze me. The pull I feel here just grows.


On the way back, I stopped at a state park along the gorge. Looking down was a little unsettling at first, especially near the gorge’s edge. I hiked (yes, I hiked – only a mile, but still a hike) on a trail that follows the river. The sun was setting, the wind was stiff at this elevation; shit, I was cold! But it was an exhilarating walk, with mountains in every direction, clouds descending below the peaks, a sense of endless nature all around.

On the way home

I’ve seen so much seen spectacular scenery this year – Alaska, the Rockies, Seattle – but this place, this is so magical. If I do ever make it out here to live, I can’t wait to take all my visiting friends to these spots I‘ve discovered over the years – and find some new ones as well.


~ by mburgan on November 12, 2010.

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