Mother Nature and Second Chances?

By: Bill Whaley
24 September, 2016

On the way home from Santa Fe to Taos early Thursday evening, I drove while my two compadres conversed, the front seat passenger and backseat assistant driver discussed “consolidated financial statements” and “tier,” otier,” “dsc” and ‘odic,” the so-called cryptic language of PRC hearings on KCEC’s rate request. The rate request is at once promoted and opposed by members of the local Coop. Due to the failed projects (Call Center, Command Center, Propane, Internet-Telecom, and Broadband) member-interveners have called into question Trustee-members’s attempts to obscure the inefficiencies of technological “diversification.” Apparently, the Trustees and CEO have gotten bored with the delivery of mere “electricity.”

As we drove up and out of the Horseshoe Curve and emerged atop the hill, I glanced north and slightly west at the deep cavern of the Gorge, which always reminds me of how puny seems human consciousness in comparison to geologic time. More to the point I had occasionally glanced out of my peripheral vision at the sun, a round orb peering like the middle eye of the forehead through clouds that witnessed the horizon on the Southwest border of Taos County another unique and glorious sunset.

On my right, the eastern border of the Sangre de Cristos was smothered in dark rain clouds, almost a fog but colored purple and lavender, lit up along the ridges in  reflected and refracted light. Thin bright light appeared as if snow on tops of peaks and ridges for a moment. Above the Sacred Mountain the gray biomorphic clouds smothered parts of the mountain and valley all the while pierced and backlit by the sunlit orb fast fading to the rear of our moving vehicle.

Even my two companions, well-worn native veterans of the valley “ooed” and “awwwed” at the sight never before seen that will never be seen again. We felt as if the special effects of the spectacle were ordered up for our particular pleasure. In fact we passed a popular local photographer perched on top a vehicle, trying to catch the divine expression of Mother Nature on the wing in the aperture of perhaps his last adventure. But I dare say none of us could reproduce the spirit and the soul of Nature in either words or images.

These moments of being appear to me as mementoes of “the art of experience,” the moments that inspire painters, photographers, poets, and ordinary human beings with a sense of wonder at the sacred ways of earth and world. Whether the people of Taos Pueblo recreate the history of emerging spirit in the dance or on the drum, or the historical Hispanic Catholic culture depicts the expression of the divine in Santos, or the early Anglo artists who attempted to paint the landscapes in which intelligible realities become perceptions, so the emerging spirit from the earth seems to become existent in the world. And then, as if to make the point, the beauty perceived just as suddenly withdraws and vanishes, leaving us with the merest memory.

What we who live here know is this: if we missed last week’s divine spectacle, we’ll get another chance. The experience of the natural world aqui en Taos keeps on giving.

On Friday night I walked the Town of Taos to visit the various expressions of high-tech art, described in the Paseo’s brochure as “interactive,” “light,” “reflections,” “generative,” “becoming,” “interventions,” “layer to layer depth,” “images and sounds,” “connectivity,” etc. So I lay down in the gnomic “Dome” and observed a version of interactive computer-generated imagery, reminiscent of galactic visions last seen in Star Wars or Star Trek at warp speed trips though the woof of the Universe but with more geometric shapes and melodic sounds.

The intervention of techno connectivity to create experience seemed redundant to me for my memory dogs me wherever I go. But I saw kids (and others) rhythmically high stepping to the beat heard in headphones and depicted on backdrops under the Gazebo in the Plaza. Most of the exhibits on Friday night’s opening extravaganza had been shutdown by the gentle rain, the vendors forlorn under tarps, the shops lit up for the occasional passerby.

Somebody had not considered Mother Nature’s primordial claims on consciousness.

The uncanny natural effects I had seen on the drive home from Santa Fe demonstrated on Thursday night the beauty of Mother Nature’s fecund offspring. But she’s also a jealous god. On Friday night the spirit of the divine message repeated by the Ancient Greeks and Hebrews came through loud and clear: “Man plans, God laughs.” In the vernacular, I could hear locals say to the Paseo planners: “Taos is a tough town.”

Today, Saturday, no doubt, the redoubtable technos will try again, especially when evening falls and if Mother Nature doesn’t drop a veil on the proceedings. We hope the she cooperates but then again she may be getting even for human exploitation of her deepest secrets, given climate change and her rejection of our ways.

Quien sabe, mi amigo, que pasa?

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