A Sense of Place

El Meze CourtyardI’ve been away on a holiday this week, a much anticipated birthday treat with my husband, to see the northern New Mexico desert in spring bloom. What an opportunity to refresh and gain perspective! This beautiful environment is so entirely unique and opposite to our home.

We are here to look at the bands of color in our mountain and mesa surroundings, breathe deep the sweet desert air perfumed with sagebrush after a spring rain and stretch our legs walking across the dry red earth. Just as Chris pointed out in her recent post, our opportunity to look with new eyes helps us dig deep and reflect beyond the superficial motions of daily life. cactus flowerI walked in the footsteps of very ancient pueblo dwellers and saw the homes they carved from the earth. They used the rich land to grow corn and foraged for herbs. They were expert at the medicinal uses of the plants around them. Every day the women of the village would grind corn and weave cloth. These communal tasks bound their village together and acknowledged a spiritual connection between earth and sky.

There is a triumphant beauty in the bloom of cactus, coneflower, and purple sage. This area of New Mexico is sometimes called O’Keefe Country, in honor of the famed artist Georgia O’Keefe who made it her home in her later life and immortalized the desert landscape. Her enlarged images of flowers reflect the deep looking and understanding the artist brought to her work. By looking through her eyes she shows us a way to inform our own sense of place.

photos by Claire Mauro


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