Intimate Observation

painting on wool flannel


The weather has shifted into raw winter here.

Everyone is bundled and puffered.

An occasional muffled greeting escapes layers of protection and meets my ears.

Emma’s face bravely pokes into the wind like the prow of a Viking ship.

As my beloved Santa Fe slips into the holidays

The stoic and frozen Native Americans sit very still under the portal presenting their offerings as they always do.

They are so beautiful in their contained presence; the antithesis of what is on the news.

The winter, between holidays, is our local time sans too many visitors

So we can see and feel one another easily.

How do those Indians keep sitting there prettifying a tiny piece of sidewalk real estate with blankets placed perfectly

Bordering their neighbors spread?

Where do they go to the bathroom?

Why do they seldom smile?

Over the years we’ve led our lives near one another with me and Em scoping out the plaza and the mysterious Naive American artists nearby, a few hundred feet away.

It calms me they are always there.

I count on their gravitas.

One time this past summer I had the thought to rise before dawn and spread anonomous rose petals all along the sidewalk where they set up.

Anglos can be mysterious too.

I didn’t do it thinking how they’d have to do the work to clean them up.

We all exist side by side with stories about one another

Or maybe not.

But we share air.

A brief look.

A quarter of a smile.

These seemingly inconsequential ocurrances seem meaningless

Yet, here I am writing of them

Feeling a soft and grateful heart.

We never know how the essence of us affects the world of “other”.

Add in the courage of vulnerability or out-loud recognition of those who matter;

Up your game to half a smile

And add a “Hi”

POOF! You got a community.


3 Responses to “Intimate Observation”

  1. Paul on December 8th, 2017

    Beautiful and charming! Stay warm, my dear!

  2. Becky Patterson on December 8th, 2017

    Like a prow on a Viking ship. I’ve thought of those Indians too claiming their space. Maybe competively fighting for their blanket stakes. They sit facing the mighty hoity toity stores of Anglos containing big bling. They’re trying to maintain status quo in a too fast changing world. I admire, pity, respect them. Yes, Cathy a simple eye contact can be a prayer. I caught one beggar hitch hiker today and prayed for him for 1/2 mile. I take the three fingered wave of a friendly texas truck driver as a big greeting to especially ME! Saves my day. Your minimalist if “community” is touching, human, love, right on. Love you. Becky

  3. Dennis Chamberlain on December 10th, 2017

    The 60 minute distance between me and Santa Fe and its wonderful culture is brought so much closer by this wonderful illustration. Thank you dear C.

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