“MOON” 5×3,painted wool flannel


This past weekend was INDIAN MARKET in Santa Fe.

Our small town doubles in size as 100,000 Native Americans from hither and yon set up booths to sell their creations; textiles, basketry, jewelry, carving, beading, etc.

Most years I avoid downtown at all costs during the show as I get so discombobulated making my way through the throng of fast paced and unconscious visitors.

I feel disappointed about this because due to my big chair I must practice extreme hyper-vigilance to avoid hitting anyone and therefor miss out on seeing extraordinary art.

Actually, I am far more interested in seeing the earthen browns of native skin; hard working, mostly stoic and noble faces not terribly concerned with greeting each visitor to their booth with a chirpy “May I answer any questions?” Very contained they sit waiting with eyes averted often-times as they give the visitor a chance to be called to a work..or not.

The artists who exhibit keep 100% of sales. A LOT of money is exchanged these two days in August.

I took Emma for a walk in the evening one night to see what my beloved plaza looked and felt like after the big push during the day.

The sun was resting behind soft clouds and the streets were pretty much empty except for the rows of white tents.

Here and there families were cooking and eating simple dinners together under their tent.

Flute music was in the wind.

A stray coffee cup rolled down the street and a little brown two-legged dressed in her fancy dancing clothes ran to catch it.

A singer far off somewhere lent his song to the night and I loved that I didn’t know what was being expressed.

Emma and I sat there until after dark watching the smokers light up across the street murmuring Indian secrets white people want so much to have.

The emptiness peppered with soft living, eating, storytelling and connecting

Happening in the midst of white plastic tents

Made me think of the gathering of tee-pees I’ve seen in pictures.

Instead of beside a river these tee-pees skirted the street and water came from plastic bottles and not the spring.

Same stuff going on I imagine: prayer of thanks for a good day, rest in the company of family.

An anglo guy walked down the street and his phone rang with the shrill incongruity of a circus.

We rolled home listening for friendly ghosts.


5 Responses to “Ghosting”

  1. Irene on August 21st, 2017

    I am always humbled when I have contact with Native Americans. They are unassuming, gracious and generous with knowledge about their culture. Also, there’s no “bull”…they are straight-talking folks, and they “walk the talk.”

    I think that’s amazing, considering all the things that were done to them.

  2. Dennis Chamberlain on August 21st, 2017

    This is such a warm vivid picture of Indian Market, so wonderful for those of us who couldn’t be there. And thanks too to Irene for her thoughtful observations.

  3. Adele Rosen on August 21st, 2017

    Thank you Cathy for that beautiful sharing of connection
    I am so happy that you and Emma grace the streets of downtown with all that love
    It is an old love of mine too
    I’m on the lake eclipsing

  4. Alexandra Eldridge on August 21st, 2017

    Thank you for taking me there this year. Not able to be there, this was a great comfort. Love, love, A

  5. Brenda Chamberlain on August 23rd, 2017

    What a lovely picture of what happens at the end of the day for the Native American artists.

    I’ve never attended Indian Market, but this gives me a good idea of what to expect, both during the day and afterward. Thanks so much for offering a peek into their world, Cathy.

    It was amazing to meet you!

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