Collective Bliss, Collective Soul at the Tenth Annual Taos Solar Music Festival, June 28, 2008, photos © 2008 by Jim. All rights reserved.
Here are my souvenirs from Taos — numbness in my right ear and sore calves. Plus, that good kind of exhaustion you get from a night of dancing outdoors, near the stage, to the beat of your favorite band.
We spent the weekend at the Tenth Annual Taos Solar Music Festival. It’s a three-day, multi-band, two-stage event held in Kit Carson Park. Dee and Em’s first concert, not counting local gigs where no one would even think of lighting up a joint. No, Taos caused me pause — Do I even mention what that smell is?
I didn’t. Instead, I danced to the fabulous band who in the mid-1990s gave us “December,” the song I swear I wanted to record so I could play it on continuous loop during labor.
Soulful. That’s a good way to describe lead singer Ed Gould’s voice. He hails from Stockbridge, GA, son of a Southern Baptist minister. And I couldn’t believe I finally got to hear him in person. Twelve years I’ve been carrying around those lyrics, buying up CDs, and belting tunes in my car.
Define bliss: (outside-of-ten-years-if-they’re-lucky) middle-aged singers reaming strings and throwing microphone stands, wearing tight jeans and blowing kisses to their (assuming-we’re-all-destined-to-be-centenarian) middle-aged fans.
I danced my socks off, shook like I was possessed, rattled my arms in the air, whooped, hollered, whistled myself and everyone around me temporarily deaf, and caused my children to wonder, Is this what they mean when they say someone is speaking in tongues?
My one saving grace? I wasn’t wearing a leather halter top.
It was only natural that Jim, the Hummingbird Whisperer, would be mesmerized two bands earlier by the liquid flute of native son Robert Mirabal, who hails from Taos Pueblo. A man with a message, Mirabal thanked us for bringing our children. Not me and Jim directly, but all of us Glad-Bag-for-raincoats parents and grandparents.
Kids need music. “They hold the future in their hands,” he said. I shivered, stared up at the sky and wondered if the rest of the bands would get rained out.
Then he sang a Circle Song and laughed away the wind, bringing us a still night.
Circle Song, Robert Mirabal at the Tenth Annual Taos Solar Music Festival, June 28, 2008, photos © 2008 by Jim. All rights reserved.
Neither Jim nor I (nor anyone in the audience) could keep our eyes off of Silvana Kane, the Peruvian-born singer of Canadian band Pacifika. This woman was pure beauty, inside and out.
“Qué linda las mujeres de Taos,” she cooed. “How beautiful the women of Taos are, dancing in their skirts.”
We chanted back: “Qué linda!”
Beautiful Spirit, Pacifika at the Tenth Annual Taos Solar Music Festival, June 28, 2008, photos © 2008 by Jim. All rights reserved.
Swimming Down Morada Lane
We stayed at Casa Benavides — the Mabel Dodge Luhan House was full — and what a delight! Homemade granola, yogurt, and fruit as first course at breakfast, along with coffee so strong that even half-and-half couldn’t tame it. Baked goods, French toast, waffles, an egg quiche smothered in red or green.
And another round of baked anything-you-crave from 3-6 pm. Afternoon tea, Taos-style.
From our patio we could hear the music almost as well as if we were at the concert, so we took many walks down Morada Lane, from the park to the inn and back again.
The girls rested, played cards, watched cable, ate lemon bars and pecan pie. Jim and I walked, rested, rocked, rested. Besides the bands mentioned here, we saw or heard Latino sounds, reggae, hip hop, and more.
If you asked my daughters what they loved the most, they might not mention the music. They might say, instead, that they liked shopping the best. Window shopping during our many rounds back and forth, but even better were the Fair Trade vendors at the festival. Tye-dye and sterling silver earrings and beads. Girls love beads.
So in between ice cream and burritos and roasted corn — festival food — not to mention tea, my daughters visited all the vendors many times. Each round, Dee and Em would return bearing bracelets or rings, bought with their own money. I helped Dee pick out her first two single earrings, which is to say, earrings worn without a partner. As in a third piercing, perhaps. Hmmm.
I loved being with my family doing something we all enjoyed, together and individually. Jim danced his Grateful-Dead-inspired shuffle and it was as if our pre-children lives suddenly merged with our post-children lives. Why hadn’t we thought of this before?
My favorite moment? Me in the mosh pit (well, Taos-style) swaying and shaking with friends and strangers; Jim and the girls a safe distance, watching and doing bopping of their own.
Folk Mandala, yarn laid into intricate pattern, seen at the Tenth Annual Taos Solar Music Festival, June 28, 2008, photo © 2008 by Jim. All rights reserved.
“I love Collective Soul, Mom,” Dee tells me as we make our way back to our room.
“You dance like this, Mom,” Em giggles and wiggles her little body as she navigates the sidewalk, throwing her arms this way and that.
I can tell the girls see me anew. For once I’m not just Mom. I’m one with the music, one night in Taos.
That and shin splints.