Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One More Santa Fe Poem for 2008

Wishing all of you the most wonderful of holidays as we near the end of 2008. Here's a poem that celebrates what is distinctly and characteristically beautiful about Santa Fe in this season.


Who hasn’t driven north, up and over La Bajada Hill, in dark December, to see the lights of Santa Fe unfurled: colcha, snowflake, electric mosaic? And who hasn’t walked the evening streets just to trace the silhouettes of walkways, houses and hotels, counting farolitos? Hasn’t driven past the Christmas tree lot on Rodeo Road just to get a whiff of pine, fir, and spruce through the dashboard heating ducts? Hasn’t heard the downtown sound of cathedral bells swallowed up in snow wafting like wafers onto roofs and wrought iron and woolen elbows? Hasn’t looked up from St. Michael’s Drive to the Sangres to search for the snow-covered horse’s head, test of visitor and native? Hasn’t found a kitchen off San Ildefonso Road, complete with grandmother, to down a half-dozen biscochitos and sip a cup of chocolate? Hasn’t kneaded the dough for pastelitos, sufganyot, or caramelized sugar for a batch of Indian bread pudding? And who hasn’t received a free cup of homemade cocoa or hot cider on Christmas Eve from the residents on or around Canyon Road? Hasn’t walked the ice-milked sidewalks of Water Street and found themselves flat on their back with some stranger helping them up, saying “Whoa--you went down like a ton of adobe bricks!” Who hasn’t left town for the heart-bending drums and dances at Santo Domingo then driven back to mark the little pines on the I-25 median decorated by some anonymous group of daredevils who brave this vehicular death-trap to tinsel-line trees? Has not seen the living room and kiva fireplace adorned with advent calendar, Menorah, bear fetish and ceramic Santa Claus? Hasn’t feasted on turkey with piñon and green chile stuffing, red chile mashed potatoes, tortillas on the side? And who hasn’t followed their grandmother and mother during las posadas, lugging a wooden crèche from house to house, the holy family looking for a place to stay, setting it down on the porch then driving away? And the dry colds so cold you want to drench them, and the stars so up close you want to lick them, and the carolers with runny noses at your door singing so off-key in two languages you want to hug-smother them? He who hasn’t; she who has not, they who never have but are looking for a place to stay on some bone-cold Santa Fe night--follow me; this is the place; this way is the way.

Valerie Martinez © 2008

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