Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stopping Time at Taos Pueblo

On a road trip along the famed Mother Road from Las Vegas to Texas, I made stops along the way to spend a few days in Arizona and New Mexico (see more on that amazing Route 66 road trip on my other blog here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2011/09/driving-mother-road.html). To complete the Route 66 experience, I made sure to include a 2-day stop in Albuquerque, and visit the Taos Pueblo. Growing up, I was always fascinated by the classic black & white images of Ansel Adams, including his series of photographs of the Taos Pueblo. A stop at the Taos Pueblo wasn't just on the itinerary, it was a mandatory homage to an iconic artist and the fabled American Southwest.  


A mile north of the city of Taos, the Taos Pueblo remains one of the the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the US, reflecting both Native American and Spanish influences in the historic settlement (for more on the Taos Pueblo, check out my post in my other blog here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2012/04/side-views-afternoon-at-taos-pueblo.html).


The settlement features stacks of adobe houses built side-by-side and on top of the other as high as five to six stories high. Despite the seemingly modern modular design, the Taos Pueblo is estimated to be more than a thousand years old. In the central square, where most tourists and visitors are concentrated, one can view the cluster of stacked adobe units against the dramatic blue skies of New Mexico. "Get a polarizer filter for your trip," words uttered by a former office mate, ring back in my head. And she was right. As the sun moves, the adobe clusters shift from a light, pale hue to bright red and deep brown shades, making each cluster different every time you walk back.


As I slowly peel away from the crowd and enter the maze of narrow alleys, you get a different view of the Taos Pueblo. But you need to ask before you head off to the inner section of the Taos Pueblo, this is, after all, a living community. "It's ok, you can enter," a Taos resident smiled as she waved me in. And with pride,  she welcomed me in, pointing to the areas where visitors can walk. Once you get the go-ahead from the residents, walk around and explore the community. Without the crowds, the solitary walk within the community allows you to zone in and focus on the small things that make the Taos Pueblo special.


Brightly colored doors contrast with the earthy adobe walls, providing a splash of color. Shadows and the shifting light paint the walls in a continuously changing palette of colors. Take your time and allow yourself to be lost, and take a closer look at the small things, the little details you'd miss when you're with a large group.


As you go deeper into the Pueblo, you are reminded that this is indeed a living community, with ristras hung along the walls. Drying chili is a common way to preserve the peppers, and a staple in American Southwest cuisine.


The Spanish influence is strong at the Taos Pueblo, as the solitary structure of the Taos de Pueblo Church stands prominently in the settlement. Made from adobe and painted an immaculate white, the church is equally as imposing as the other structures, yet somehow blends in with the rest of the community. Despite contrasting cultures, there is a blend of architectural harmony, and a sense of balance.


Back at the central square, I continue to zoom in and frame a few more photos. You can stay for hours and lose yourself at the Taos Pueblo, as you immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Native American Taos tribe. There is an entrance fee, plus a small fee for bringing in a camera, but it's all definitely worth it as the images and memories you can capture at the Taos Pueblo will remain, well, priceless. I can see now why Ansel Adams fell in love with the Taos Pueblo, with its beautifully preserved structures. Walking into the community is like walking back in time, and capturing a few images freezes the moment. Years after this trip, I can still remember my fascination and awe, of touching the actual adobe walls, reliving my admiration for Ansel Adams and his iconic images, and the friendly residents of the Taos Pueblo community. That's one check off my bucket list. 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the photos and writing the very interesting story! Taos has been high on my list to visit the Taso Pueblo too!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Larry, thanks, appreciate it. Taos Pueblo is definitely an experience!

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