The sun sets on Santa Fe, and I walk through the barely populated streets of the Plaza. Small open courtyards, vigas of various sizes, the adobe style mixed with the victorian style architecture, like fairytale-dreamland-movie set. It’s beautiful.
The native american culture is so infused within this region, more than any other place i’ve visited so far. But it also has its own flavours. Our local expert called it the “Great Migrations.” Starting with the original movements of the native people across the land brdige, the arrival of the Navajo people, and eventually the settling of the “Pueblan Indians.”
We learned about the arrival of the Spanish, the only successful revolt of the the Native people in North America, and the arrival of the railway in the 1800s. And so it goes, the arrival of the “Lungers” or those ill with Tuberculosis, who travelled to this area for the dry cool weather and altitudes, which were best for overcoming the illness. In fact the hotel we are staying at is the former Hospital.
I half expect to see a long forgotten nurse pass me in the hallways, but then again my mind is fanciful, and i am sensitive to the spirits. haha
The history continued into the 70s with the next great migration- the arrival of the Hippies.
Through all these migrations, it is hard to recognize which has left the distinctive flavour in Santa Fe and that is the strong art culture. In this city of 80 thousand inhabitant, there are 8 museums and 160 galleries. Santa fe is also home to the Native American School of Art, and various other institutions that form the backbone of this creative city.
Some things stand out in my mind. Learning about “Zozobra” or the “gloomy old man” and the tradition of creating a statue and giving him all your glooms. This tradition started when the city began to celebrate the creation of Santa Fe, which was also coincidentally the defeat of the native peoples. To leave the bitter taste of the defeat behind, and join the celebrations, artist Will Shuster created the sculpture as a way for the native people to put their glooms behind and join the celebrations. This tradition continue to this day, the 5 foot sculpture now growing into a sculpture 49ft high. Oh did i mention, after they put in their glooms, they set the sculpture on fire. (We humans love burning things! :))
All these stories, and more have heartened me to this city. It’s amazing that i’ve been to some of the most romantic settings, enjoyed the most idyllic scenaries, sunsets, and perfect moments. One day I will share what I know with someone, someone who will probably laugh with me about the gross lovey-doveyness of it all.
Till then, Santa Fe.. you are on my “take me back” list.