Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Photo by S. Auberle

after my recent visit to Chimayo, I have to post this old piece...


Down Juan Medina road, I drive into the small green valley of Chimayo on a hot, August day at noon.  Father Rocca's mission bell is chiming twenty one times as I find an old stone bench near a statue of the crucified Christ, to eat my chicken burrito with green chile and a bowl of Leona's fine posole.  Giant cottonwoods shade me, the acequia sings quietly over stones.  Christ looks on, heavily laden with rosaries and photos, notes and message-inscribed rocks at His feet.  Doves coo softly from the tower.  Across the road, under the Holy Chile sign, Carlos beckons me--come in and taste his chile, he says.  Inside I meet his mama, feeding a child.  Do what you love--it is good for you and those you love.  Though I didn't ask, Carlos seems compelled to give me advice--everybody hurry--not good.  It occurs to me that I'll be unable to leave without a purchase of his chile and so I buy a small bag.  Ah, a picnic!  Carlos beams--with one of those little transistor radios, you know--the kind with just two batteries, a bottle of Cappellini wine--mix my chile with a little bit of honey, put on some fish and grill them…  He takes my hand then, looking into my eyes for the longest time.  I'm not sure how to escape, but finally Mama clears her throat and I turn back into the hot afternoon wondering what just happened.  Christ is still there, under the cottonwood; Father Rocca is crossing the dusty plaza and down along the acequia a faint, tinny music is playing--exactly like one of those little transistor radios… 


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