April 09, 2012

The Literary Field—One with Trees and Nameless Indians

I found this New York Times travel piece, "A Taos Field Evokes the Extraordinary" to be both interesting and frustrating.

Writer Henry Shukman is both connected to the place yet, in important ways, so disconnected.
The field is the kind of small, almost accidental place that, for visitors and residents alike, seems to quietly capture the essence of the entire area. In northern California, it might be a hidden stretch of rocky beach; in upstate New York, it might be an untouched stretch of woodland beyond the garden fences at the end of a small-town street. For me, in Taos, it was this field. 
And so on. He meditates on Taos Mountain, sees a group of Taos Pueblo men drumming and singing in the field and while napping in the field has "a vivid dream" wherein "an old tribal man" gives him a special message.

But whose field is it? What is its agricultural use? I would not want to see it turned into a Family Dollar store any more than Shukman would, but I was frustrated by the essentially literary appreciation. You read about famous artists, but the landowner is missing. So are the birds and plants (except cottonwood trees).

Still, the message of "notice the unappreciated" place is worth hearing.

2 comments:

Darrell said...

I read the article. Meh. I think Taos is a joke; it has become a caricature of itself. I enjoyed the chicharrones burrito at the Questa Cafe more than I liked Taos.

Chas Clifton said...

Having worked in Taos County a couple of years as a college student doing construction, I have seen it change too. But it is still an interesting place to watch the passing scene.