Patron Saint of Travelers
Acrylic on raw alderwood
Karen Rivera 2005
Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico
I shoot a lot of cemetaries. For heart-rending, technicolor boisterous displays, you just can’t beat a New Mexican cemetary on Easter, Day of the Dead or Christmas. I’ve made it to my favorite, the Nambe Church cemetary in Nambe, every Boxing Day for most of the last 20 years. I follow that up with New Year’s Day in Acoma. It seems to make the perfect emotional double-header.
I found this small, weathered cross tucked away in a far corner surrounded by tumbleweeds and scruffy dead plants. The new flowers shows that this lonely hidden grave hadn’t been forgotten.
On the Road Between Cimarron and Taos
The first time I went to one of the pueblos to watch the dancing I was served a small cracked hand-painted bowl of this vegetarian stew. I’ve made it ever since I had my first garden when I was a child. It’s rich, comforting and simple but like most dishes that contain green chili, the whole is tastier than the individual ingredients. Serve with freshly made corn tortillas, bowls of salsa and some cold hand-crafted beer from the brewery at Christ in the Desert.
2 ears of fresh corn, kennels cut from cob
1 large yellow onion, chopped medium
1/2 roasted, peeled and chopped hot green chil
1 TBL chopped garlic
4 c. peeled, seeded and chopped unripe pumpkin or banana squash
2 TBL oil (grapeseed if possible)
In a large kettle, saute onion and pumpkin or squash until the onion is translucent.
Add corn, chili and garlic. Add enough fresh water to prevent sticking. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.
Manzano, Founded 1824
Manzano, New Mexico
Manzano is one of New Mexico’s small almost ghost towns tucked away in the Cibola National Forest. With an estimated population of 54, the main attractions are its photo opps and the legendary Manzano Mountain Retreat.
The aerial shot below, taken from the Manzano Mountain Retreat website shows the orchards cut out of the forest.
Church at Sanctuario, 1950’s
Chimayo, New Mexico
Scanned Vintage Postcard
This vintage postcard of Sanctuario left me stunned. I’ve shot hundreds of photographs of the church but I never saw it as a real small Northern New Mexican town chuch like those scattered all over the state until I found this postcard.
The small villages along Highway 55 have always held a special place in my hard-scrabble New Mexican heart. Using the few resources available in the barren, harsh acres early settlers recycled the ever-present rocks into homes, walls, and churches.
In Punta de Agua, the rough-cut stone San Antonio Church stands as a monument to an earlier example of sustainable and green building.
If you’d like to walk through Punta de Agua at street level, click here to go to Google Maps, then click satellite.