books, Native American, New Mexico, Taos, Writing

Silver Beads from Window Rock

I promised myself I would buy a string of silver beads, Native-made, when I sold my book. It would be my reward. Alas, that hasn’t happened yet despite the earnest efforts of my agent.

So when my parents gave me a gift of money, I decided to spend a little on myself. Yes, you guessed correctly. I bought the necklace I coveted.

I knew long ago to buy the necklace at Tony Reyna’s Indian Shop. Tony, who is 99, is a survivor of the Bataan Death March in World War II and one of the most revered persons in the Taos area. We’ve eaten with his family on Christmas Eve and San Geronimo Feast Day. We’ve bought gifts from his shop, which his son, Philip, now runs.

Philip had a selection of silver beads but not the style — plain not carved  — in the length I wanted. But he said he could order one from a man he knows from Window Rock in Navajo Nation.  Philip called a couple of weeks later. He had a necklace he thought I’d like. Ironically the man from Window Rock came in soon after I left the shop. The necklace just arrived in the mail.

The silver beads go with the three pairs of earrings my sister, Christine, gave me from her collection of Native jewelry. I’ve decided to wear the beads  every day except when I work outside. So far, that’s held true.

As for treating myself when the book is sold. Well, frankly, that would be its own reward.

No comment: I removed the comments option this week. I grew tired of deleting spam from ne’er-do-wells who think they can fool me by offering clever observations and compliments about this website — the same ones over and over. Meanwhile they are pitching Nike and Louis Vuitton. So I wasn’t fooled at all.


Nature, New Mexico

Looking Skyward

I am lucky to have an unimpeded view of Northern New Mexico’s big, big sky. There are no tall buildings on the mesa. No crowded neighborhoods. No trees, alas. Our sky hangs above for all to see.

Our sunsets are famous, of course, with deep reds, oranges, and pinks like the one I shot above. Photographers and painters go nuts over them. So do the tourists. I’ve been here almost nine years, and they never fail to impress me as well.

In the summer, during monsoon season, we get strong afternoon thunder storms with chain lightning, including bolts that flex horizontally across the sky.

We have skies as blue as bluebirds’ feathers. And interesting cloud formations. On a recent walk, my friend Virginia pointed to a cloud formation she called “mare’s tails” — cirrus to others —  and said we should get rain within a few days.

Then, there is our night sky so dark the stars are exceptionally bright. I’ve seen meteors shoot across the sky, including one that fell far away onto the mesa in a grand display of sparks.

Photo of April 4 eclipse courtesy of astronomer Gary Zientara

Photo of April 4 eclipse courtesy of astronomer Gary Zientara

We had a lunar eclipse early April 4. I got myself out of bed to see the earth cast its shadow on the full moon. I wasn’t disappointed. The moon had a rosy tint, hence, its Blood Moon name.

Gary Zientara, an astronomer who lives in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, took the photo of the eclipse in progress on this post. He writes a column called Star Lite for The Taos News, where I work.

Sometimes I hear about a great celestial event and unfortunately the sky is clouded or it’s in another part of the world. Other times we get lucky. I remember the Hale-Bopp Comet that was visible to the eye for a long time in the late ’90s.

But then there is the unexpected. Once in college I was running an errand in the center of town. I stopped at a park bench just as the light dimmed for a solar eclipse I didn’t know was going to happen. I sat there until it was over, careful not to look at the sun, but enjoying the experience nonetheless.