–Mabel’s Dining Room, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
It’s summer at Mabel’s. The wind whipped through the cottonwoods after a hot, muggy day. I was drenched in sweat while giving the presentation on When the Emperor Was Divine. And then, the rain came. A quick shower from blackened skies. The afternoon winds visit each day. And the light. How do I describe the light?
The photograph is from last Saturday, the day I arrived in Taos. I have been so swamped, and dead on my feet at the end of each day, that I haven’t had time to take photos since Day 1.
Tomorrow we walk to the Harwood Museum of Art (it used to be a library and is one of the places where Natalie Goldberg wrote Banana Rose) to see the Richard Diebenkorn exhibit. He’s mentioned in Natalie’s book, In Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World. It’s one of my favorite books by Natalie. The colors are bold and alive; the paper is slick and thick. The book feels good in the hands. The writing speaks for itself.
We’ve talked a lot about the visual aspects of writing this week. How to capture details the way an artist captures color, shadow, form, and light on the palette. There has been community (there are 57 attending) and tons of writing practice. Slow walking and meditation in the morning. Thursday we go to the Rio Grande for a swim. I automatically go into that deeper silent place when I walk from the Gatehouse to the Juniper House where the class meets. It feels like coming home.
It’s almost midnight. And I’m sitting in Mabel’s dining room, clacking away at the keys. I am the only one on the lower floor of the adobe. Writers and artists sleep above. I’m tired. And, in a minute, I will lock up and walk over to my room, hopefully for a good night’s sleep. My dreams are always full here. Sometimes strange. And there are nights when they wake me up.
Natalie says we dream more here because the mind knows we are open to receiving what might come. So it gives us what we are ready for. I think it’s that – and the ancestors; they are closer to earth in this place. I am grateful for Natalie’s teachings. And for what she has taught me about teaching. And about writing. Each time I come here, I get closer to something or someone I know is at the heart of me.
Grrrrrrr. I’m gritting my teeth and pounding my heart with balled fists. I want it. I am here. And I want it.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007