tomás el apóstol church and abiquiu lake

a quick trip to the village of abiquiu to see santo tomás el apóstol church, and then off to abiquiu lake. reptile fossils dating back 200 million years have been found here. i kept looking, but no luck:) the water is a gorgeous blue-green color and the entire area is layered with colorful rock formations – dark reds, oranges, pinks and browns. my phone couldn’t do justice to the landscape. needed a wide-angle lens. too much beauty to behold.

plaza blanca

not far from dar al islam is plaza blanca: ‘Made famous by local artist Georgia O’Keeffe who made a series of paintings called “The White Place,” these landscapes are located in a valley of the Rio Chama hills, near the village of Abiquiu. This area of New Mexico is now on the grounds of the Dar Al Islam education center and mosque. Although private land the center welcomes visitors. Plaza Blanca is part of the Abiquiu Formation, which consists of re-deposited volcanic ash and other sedimentary rocks that are about 20 million years old.’ — a resplendent temple as sacred as any place of worship, right next to a mosque.

dar al islam

today we walked to the french pastry shop and creperie to pick up some tarte aux fruits and eclairs and had breakfast outdoors, in the santa fe plaza. then off to abiquiu. first stop: dar al islam. it’s ‘a Muslim village begun in 1977 by American and European converts who wanted to live amid the Native American pueblos in northern New Mexico. The village, which was constructed in Abiquiu, New Mexico, boasts an adobe mosque as its centerpiece. Completed in 1981 and situated on 1,600 acres, the mosque and adjoining madrassah include vaulted ceilings, domes, archways, gardens, courtyards, and a library. The Dar al Islam community of several dedicated families consists of educators, artists, poets, and writers who want to “build bridges between Muslims and the wider North American community by communicating the deep spirituality and beauty of the Islamic tradition by living it.”’

folk art vs. art

i’ve never understood the difference between folk art and ‘art.’ after all, expressions of cultural heritage, folklore and tradition also come into play in the creation of ‘high art’ (it’s not suspended in some kind of vacuum). the distinctions between artifact, craft, ornament and art are so many borders and hierarchies that we shouldn’t respect. at the museum of international folk art, i saw such beautiful objects from all across the world. their permanent collection is impressively lavish. they also had a special exhibit called ‘sewing stories of displacement’ – it tells stories of ‘forced migrations, new transitions, and memories’ through embroidery and weaving. the people looked familiar in one of them. i read ‘railway station’ written in urdu across the top. it’s about displacement – ‘the forced migration of kahuta residents (in pakistan) after the area became a site for the national atomic bomb project in 1976,’ something i had never heard of before. the power of art.

canyon road in santa fe

walked along canyon road, in santa fe, which is just 5 min away from our house. over 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants in one spot. an art lover’s dream. couldn’t possibly afford most of the art but loved absorbing it. one thing that struck me: there are so many galleries full of beautiful native art – they should be owned by native people. i hope they are. everything is in bloom here. nature seems to be unstoppable.

yokai and war rugs

at the museum of international folk art, ‘yokai: ghosts and demons of japan’ and ‘the art of afghan war rugs’ – an exhibition that should be properly problematized in the united states (the imperial war machine) but isn’t. i had already seen some of it at the memorial art gallery in rochester. the work is beautiful. the violence that seeps into cultures and artifacts heartbreaking.

museum of international folk art, santa fe

it’s a bit cooler today, with an off and on drizzle, so i decided to go to the museum of international folk art on museum hill. aitezaz wanted to stay home, relax and read. even before i entered the building, i was blown away by the plaza around which all the museums are located. the sky was doing its own thing and the light perfect for capturing darker hues and sharp details. the public sculptures in this city are exquisite.

santafe #museumofinternationalfolkart #folkart #art #drizzle #overcastday #perfectlightforphotography

rio grande gorge bridge

our last bit of adventure yesterday: the rio grande gorge bridge, fifth highest bridge in the US. fought insane winds and my fear of heights, to walk on the bridge for spectacular views of the gorge below. and then it was back to santa fe, taking the low road this time which winds thru the rio grande valley ?

riograndegorge #riograndegorgebridge #lowroad #riograndevalley #santafe #newmexico

taos is art

‘taos is art’ it says everywhere. indeed, the taos society of artists was formed in 1915 and artists have been flocking here ever since. had a scrumptious lunch and the best flourless cake ever from chokola. walked the plaza, bought some art, and then a short drive to the church of san francisco de asis dating back to the 18th century, an adobe structure painted by georgia o’keeffe and photographed by ansel adams.

taos #chokola #art #artists #taossocietyofartists #churchoffranciscodeasis #rancherosdetaos #newmexico

carson national park

on our way to taos, on the high road, all of a sudden we found ourselves in the midst of a pine forest. now called carson national park, this is the home of the taos pueblo people.

the blue lake was always an important cultural and religious site for them and they fought to have it restored to their guardianship, finally succeeding in 1970.
i was surprised to learn that the area has elk, black bears, coyotes and cougars, among other big game animals.

highroadtotaos #taospueblopeople #taos #pueblo #carsonnationalforest #bluelake #thisisallnativeland


today we drove from santa fe to taos, taking the high scenic road thru the sangre de cristo mountains. first stop, historic chimayó, a hamlet known for its chile, weaving and miracles. visited the santuario de chimayó, famous for its healing magic ?

highroadtotaos #santafe #taos #sangredecristomountains #chimayo #chile #weaving #miracles #santuariodechimayo #healing #newmexico

santa fe

our little place in santa fe, a city that’s all earth-colored adobes. much more traffic than easygoing albuquerque. first thing we did was order food from jambo cafe. my husband got jerk chicken with rice & beans and fried plantains. i got a moroccan lamb stew cooked w chickpeas, raisins, apricots, and sweet potatoes, topped with a delicious ginger dried fruit chutney. amazing.

santafe #newmexico #jambocafe