Friday, April 1, 2011

April, the Windy Month

I first came to New Mexico 20 years ago to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. At that time, the studios were in old quonset huts surrounding a huge dirt parking lot. It wasn’t long before I came to think of March as the month of ubiquitous mud so deep, it sometimes sucked the boots right off you. But fortunately, it was followed by April, the blessedly dry (but very windy) month. By the end of April, the parking lot was dry, with dirt so hard, it was difficult to believe it had ever been a mud pack.

Of course, I now live in Taos, which sits on an expansive plain surrounded by mountains. It’s colder here, and the climate in many ways is a little different, and because of the huge flatlands, it is quite often very, very windy. But April still seems to be the windiest time of all.

Last year, April was so windy that the local newspaper featured a photo of tumbleweeds stacked up about six feet all along a coyote fence, and I saw so many myself, that I began to feel like I was in a Western movie. There is one in particular which is perfectly suited: Conagher, in which Katherine Ross plays a widow whose loneliness prompts her to write down her thoughts and tie them to tumbleweeds, to make their way through the world. Many miles away, Sam Elliot finds several of them, and of course, you know the ending!

Last April’s brisk winds and huge tumbleweed “harvest” prompted me to write this haiku:

spring winds blowing hard
weeds-a-tumble cross the yard
ahh...New Mexico!

One of the most beloved results of all the wind here is the bumper crop of whimsical kinetic sculptures which dot the landscape. One gallery in town has a front yard full of them, and another devotes an entire field in front of Taos Mountain to the art form. I always look for them when I drive into Taos. The unique landscape of wind sculptures, grazing cattle, and the sacred mountain as a backdrop is such a wonderful reminder of one aspect of the goodness which is Taos, New Mexico. ~Aimee

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